The Carolina Hurricanes have locked up their head coach just a few hours before he potentially wins the Jack Adams. Rod Brind’Amour is a finalist for the award, which is given to the coach of the year in the NHL and will be announced later today. The contract will be a three-year term for Brind’Amour, keeping him off the free agent coaching market for the time being. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell released a statement:
Rod has been the driving force behind the culture change we’ve undergone here. He keeps our players motivated, demands accountability, and has our team ready to compete every night. He has truly raised the bar for our organization, and we’re thrilled to have him continue as our coach for years to come.
At the accompanying press conference, Brind’Amour confirmed that the delay in announcing the contract came down to working out deals with the rest of the coaching and training staff. A franchise icon, he explained that he would have a “hard time” being a head coach somewhere else in the league. Brind’Amour of course isn’t just a coach for the Hurricanes, he was the team’s captain during their only Stanley Cup championship in 2006 and is about as tied into the identity of the organization as one person can be.
In fact, Waddell explained that if a time comes when Brind’Amour no longer wants to be behind the bench, the organization would find a role for him somewhere else. The coach even hinted that he would want to join the front office at some point. Even as a first-time head coach, Brind’Amour’s time in Carolina is going well. Through three seasons he has a 120-66-20 record, taking the team to the playoffs each year. Should he win the Jack Adams, it would be the first time a Hurricanes coach takes home the award.
A three-year contract will keep him in Carolina for a while, a good sign for a team that has a strong core. The team hasn’t quite gotten to the point of Stanley Cup favorite, but was certainly a contender this season after finishing first in the Central Division with a 36-12-8 record. Brind’Amour’s next challenge may be replacing Dougie Hamilton, should the top-pairing blueliner not return in free agency.