The Philadelphia Flyers selected John Tortorella for their coaching vacancy on Friday, the latest veteran tasked with stopping the franchise’s 47-year Stanley Cup title drought.
Tortorella, who turns 64 next week, coached Tampa Bay to a championship in 2004, and he also coached the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He was fired in May 2021 after six seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Tortorella “demands the best out of his players every single game.”
“During the interview process we discussed a number of factors that are crucial to bring this team immediate success and it became clear to me that his vision and style makes him the right person to restore a winning environment to our locker room,” Fletcher said.
Tortorella is the sixth Flyers coach in the last 10 years, and he will try to revitalize a dormant franchise that has just one playoff series victory since 2012. The Flyers finished with a 25-46-11 record this season under Alain Vigneault and Mike Yeo and were last in the Metropolitan Division.
“From my very first conversation with Chuck, I knew this was the right fit for me and I believe in the direction this team is heading,” Tortorella said. “Having faced the Flyers for several years, I know firsthand how tough of a city Philly is to play in and I look forward to being on the right side of the bench on opening night in front of such a loyal and passionate crowd of Flyers fans.”
Tortorella is the second-winningest American-born coach in NHL history. He is known for his occasional temper and demanding, no-nonsense coaching style, and he has clashed through the years with his share of players.
Tortorella is 673-541-37-132 over almost 20 seasons. He emerged as the new coach out of a slew of candidates that included former Washington and Islanders coach Barry Trotz. Tortorella is only 56-64 in the playoffs with six first-round exits.
Tortorella worked this season for ESPN as part of its studio coverage.
The Flyers last played in the Stanley Cup Final in 2010. They haven’t won a championship since consecutive Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975.
“This is a critical moment for our franchise, and Chuck has made a strong selection in John Tortorella as the next head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers,” Flyers chairman Dave Scott said.. “John embodies the values of this franchise and city – hard work, grit, and determination – and I’m excited for him to get to work with our team right away.”
—Dan Gelston, The Associated Press