Brind’Amour to be next Hurricanes coach

Don Waddell has interim tag removed and becomes GM and president

Madeline Gray—North State Journal
Rod Brind'Amour, pictured in 2016 when he was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, will be the next coach of the Carolina Hurricanes (Madeline Gray / North State Journal)

RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes have their next head coach and general manager — and both come from within the walls of PNC Arena.

Rod Brind’Amour, who captained the team to the 2006 Stanley Cup and has served as an assistant coach since the 2011-12 season, was named the team’s new coach, and Don Waddell was elevated to promoted to president and general manager, the team said in a press release Tuesday.

Brind’Amour, 47, becomes the team’s fifth coach since it moved to North Carolina. He replaces Bill Peters, who opted out of the final year of his contract in Carolina and subsequently took the same position with the Calgary Flames.

“Rod is the greatest leader in the history of this franchise, and has earned the opportunity to take charge of our locker room,” Waddell said in a press release. “We spoke to a number of candidates for this position, but our conversations with staff and players consistently returned to the same person. Rod’s fresh ideas, ability to motivate and understanding of what it takes to bring a championship to Raleigh will help our young team take the next step toward competing to bring the Cup back to North Carolina.”

Brind’Amour served as an assistant for the last three Hurricanes coaches — Peters, Kirk Muller and Paul Maurice — and was captain of the team under Peter Laviolette, the only other person to coach the team since its relocation to N.C. As a player, Brind’Amour twice won the Selke Award as the NHL’s top defensive forward and had 452 goals and 1,184 points in 1,484 regular season games as a player. He retired following the 2009-10 season.

In what has been a roller coaster 2018 for the Hurricanes under new owner Tom Dundon — most notably, GM Ron Francis was relieved of his duties and later had his contract terminated — the retention and promotion for Brind’Amour could ease concerns from the fanbase and NHL pundits about the direction of the franchise.

Brind’Amour, however, ascends to the position without any head coaching experience. Both Peters and Muller were first-time NHL head coaches when they were hired, but both had led teams in lower levels (Muller for just 17 games with AHL Milwaukee; Peters coached for three years in both the AHL and WHL) prior to getting their shot behind the bench. Carolina has the longest active NHL postseason drought at nine seasons, last making the playoffs in 2009 when Brind’Amour was still captain.

Brind’Amour is one of three players with his number officially retired by the Hurricanes. His No. 17 is joined by Francis’ No. 10 and Glen Wesley’s No. 2 in the PNC Arena rafters.

Waddell has been with the franchise since 2014 and was previously the general manager of the since-relocated Atlanta Thrashers for more than a decade, and even coached the team for 85 games over two seasons. Waddell was not retained when the Thrashers were sold and moved to Winnipeg. The 11th overall pick in the 1978 draft, Waddell only went on to play one NHL game.