Blue Jackets encourage Brad Larsen to succeed John Tortorella as head coach
The Blue Jackets promoted Brad Larsen on Thursday to fill the head coach position left vacant after Columbus parted ways with John Tortorella after six seasons at the helm.
Larsen, 44, a former NHL forward who has been an assistant coach for the Blue Jackets for the past seven seasons, has accepted a three-year contract until the 2023-24 season, said general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.
“We went through an exhaustive process where we took a very close look at a number of outstanding candidates to be the next coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the one person we kept coming back to was Brad Larsen,” Kekalainen said in a statement. “Brad was one of the best young coaches in the American Hockey League when he joined our club as an assistant coach and over the past seven years he has earned the respect of our players, about our staff and our organization through his work ethic, his hockey sense and the way he treats people, and we couldn’t be happier to present him as our next head coach. “
“I am extremely proud to be a Columbus Blue Jacket and to be a part of this wonderful community for the past seven years, and I am touched and honored to be the head coach of this hockey club,” said Larsen said.
Tortorella, 62, the most successful coach in franchise history, was in the final year of his contract when he was fired in May. The move came as no surprise after a tumultuous season that saw the Blue Jackets plunge to last place in their division as the coach acknowledged the inability to influence the team’s culture.
The Blue Jackets were 227-166-54 under Tortorella, including a 50-24-8 franchise best in 2016-17.