On this day, in 1997 the new NHL franchise Nashville Predators named former Western Hockey League player Barry Trotz as its head coach.
August 6, 1997
Before the Nashville Predators even had a name, they had a coach. Barry Trotz was named to the position on Aug. 6, 1997, becoming the face of the NHL’s newest expansion franchise (the name came on Nov. 17, 1997). Prior to joining Nashville, Trotz played junior hockey in the Western Hockey League. It was there where he realized he wasn’t good enough for an NHL career and soon began his coaching career, with stops as an assistant and head coach at the University of Manitoba before leading the Baltimore Skipjacks, the Washington Capitals minor league affiliate. The Skipjacks relocated to Portland in 1993, and Trotz guided the newly named Pirates to two Calder Cup Finals and won a championship in the team’s inaugural year of 1994. A relationship with former Capitals general manager David Poile led to Trotz’s hiring in Nashville, where he coached the Predators for 15 seasons. He later became head coach of the Washington Capitals, winning the Stanley Cup in 2018, and he now coaches the New York Islanders.
In his debut season with Nashville, Trotz led the Predators to 28 wins, the third-highest number of victories for an expansion team to date.