Eager Jerrard follows Gulutzan to Dallas as assistant
Thursday, 08.04.2011 / 11:23 AM / News
By John Tranchina
New head coach Glen Gulutzan isn’t the only new face on the Dallas Stars coaching staff for the 2011-12 season, as he opted to hire as an assistant coach the man who held that position for him at AHL Texas the past two years, Paul Jerrard.
He initially joined Gulutzan in 2009 when the Stars’ AHL expansion squad, located in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park, enjoyed immediate success, advancing to the 2010 Calder Cup Finals.
Following another impressive AHL season that ended with a first-round playoff loss, Gulutzan was promoted to the parent club on June 17, and Jerrard was happy to follow him to Dallas 11 days later.
“I’m very excited to be offered the opportunity,” said Jerrard, who has never been a head coach. “I’ve worked in the American League, and obviously, as you work, you want to get a chance to move up and I’ve been granted that opportunity, so I’m very excited and look forward to the opportunity.”
“We are very excited to name Paul Jerrard to our coaching staff,” said Dallas General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk on June 28 in announcing the move. “He has great history with our organization, as well as with Glen Gulutzan while they were both coaching at our AHL franchise in Cedar Park. Paul’s professionalism and work ethic will rub off on this organization and our players. He will help the Dallas Stars take the next step in getting back to the playoffs.”
Certainly, that background with the club, which includes three years as an assistant at AHL Iowa from 2005-08, as well as his strong working relationship with Gulutzan, were key factors in Jerrard’s appointment.
“I met Gully a number of years ago and didn’t really know him all that great, just saying hi and you talk a little hockey with him,” recalled Jerrard, who remained in Iowa as an assistant in 2008-09, when Dallas did not have an AHL affiliation. “And we were both put together in the organization two years ago to work with the Texas Stars and we seemed to hit it off pretty well, worked together and had some success and we look to bring that success to the National Hockey League level.”
Having spent so many years helping mentor and mold the franchise’s top prospects, Jerrard has been instrumental in the process of developing many players currently on the NHL squad’s roster, including such important contributors as Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn, Nicklas Grossman and Mark Fistric, among others, not to mention the many injury replacements that filled in for the Stars last season. Jerrard is proud of his work helping stock the parent club and believes the development model has been operating as intended.
“It certainly has, and even if you rewind that pipeline back to the Iowa days, there’s a number of guys that I had worked with in Iowa that have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, not only with the Dallas Stars but with some other teams,” Jerrard said, noting former Stars James Neal, Mike Smith and Dan Ellis also played for him in the minors. “Developing Dallas Stars prospects has been real good the last few years, dating back to the Iowa days. They’ve done a good job giving us good players to work with and we’ve done what we can to help mold these players into NHL players.”
Jerrard is confident that his prior association with those aforementioned players will help both him and the players with the transition to the Dallas bench this coming season.
“Toby Petersen was down there, Krys Barch was down there, just to name a few of the other guys that we’ve had in the past,” said Jerrard, “guys that have gone through and paid their dues in the American Hockey League and put themselves in good position to be NHL players now. (Having a previous relationship) certainly does help, giving us a familiarity with it. I’m not coming into the group as a complete unknown.”
Besides his recent coaching history with the organization, Jerrard actually also has a long-time connection with the franchise as well, having played five games for the Minnesota North Stars back in 1988-89 as a defenseman. For Jerrard, who was a ninth-round selection (173rd overall) of the New York Rangers in the 1983 Entry Draft, those were the only NHL games he suited up for over the course of a 10-year pro career, spending much of it in the AHL and old IHL, including parts of six seasons with the Stars’ former affiliate in Kalamazoo.
After contributing to the AHL Hershey Bears’ Calder Cup championship in 1997, Jerrard retired as a player and got into coaching, joining the staff of his alma mater, Lake Superior State University for four of the next five seasons. The Winnipeg native spent two years at AHL Hershey from 2003-05 and joined the Stars’ organization when hired as an assistant with the AHL Iowa Stars for the 2005-06 season.
Jerrard has been a loyal Stars employee ever since, and after working with Gulutzan the last two years in Cedar Park, he is confident that the first-time NHL bench boss will be as successful in Dallas, noting Gulutzan’s rapid adjustment to the AHL after arriving from the lower-level ECHL.
“Well, I was with him in his first American League job and he did a fantastic job,” Jerrard said. “I don’t expect anything less here. He’s a well-respected guy, a very knowledgeable hockey coach, and he’s been real good, not only as a coach but as a friend the last couple of years to me, so he’s going to work out real well here.”
And having Jerrard by his side once again should undoubtedly help the process.