By Neil Becker
Pierre McGuire is confidently ready to fully embrace the challenge as the Ottawa Senators new Senior Vice President of Player Development.
McGuire, who worked as a hockey analysis first at TSN followed by a 15-year run at NBC, would more than likely be a familiar name to long-time Senators fans.
On November 22, 1995, McGuire, who at that time was a Senators scout, was hired as the team’s assistant coach. However, a few months later, after newly appointed General Manager Pierre Gauthier was hired mid-season, McGuire was one of the coaches fired on January 23, 1996.
Looking to make his mark on the franchise, McGuire, more than twenty years later, is back in the Nation’s Capital with some unfinished business after being hired by team owner Eugene Melnyk and General Manager Pierre Dorion this summer.
“On behalf of the entire Senators organization, I would like to welcome Pierre McGuire back to Ottawa,” Melnyk said in a statement.
“We are excited to add Pierre to our hockey management group. His experience will be instrumental as we continue to build an elite team. Pierre’s knowledge of the game and its players is highly regarded and I am confident that he will positively assist our team as it progresses to the next level.”
Prior to his broadcasting career, McGuire scouted in 1990 for the Pittsburgh Penguins and was behind the bench as their assistant coach when the Pens won the 1992 Stanley Cup.
Eventually, McGuire’s coaching career took him to Connecticut, becoming an assistant coach for the up-and-coming Hartford Whalers.
During the 1993/94 campaign, McGuire made history as he became at age 32 the youngest to ever coach in the National Hockey League. Unfortunately, it didn’t go well for him as the Whalers finished under .500 with a 23-37-7 record.
Afterwards, McGuire joined the Sens organization as a scout. Then, as mentioned earlier, was for a brief time in 1995/96 he was the assistant coach.
Needless to say, McGuire, who is 59 years old, is excited about this up-and-coming challenge with a young and talented Senators team who are ready to take that next step in their rebuild.
“I’m super pumped. We’re going to have some fun,” McGuire told the Ottawa Sun. “I see my role as being there to help (Dorion), helping the hockey operations department, player development and being somebody who can help the organization. It’s important to have lots of information when you make decisions and I’d like to think I’d be very good at gathering information.”
While in school, McGuire played defence from 1979-’82 for Hobert College. After graduating with an English degree, he spent a year playing in the Netherlands.
He never made the NHL as a player, though he did attend the New Jersey Devils training camp.
Looking towards this upcoming challenge, McGuire stated in the Ottawa Sun article,
“The biggest thing is just bring my experience and knowledge of the League. I’ve been in the League for over 30 years. Over the last 23 years, I’ve had pretty much unfettered access to the League in terms of players and management decisions. That’s something that’s pretty helpful. I felt my conversations with (team owner Eugene Melnyk) and Pierre have been very fruitful and I’ve enjoyed them very much.”
Ottawa has exciting young players such as Drake Batherson, Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris, Tim Stutzle and defenceman Thomas Chabot to name just a few.
An encyclopedia hockey mind such as McGuire, who knows all the NHL managers and players through his years of broadcasting, should be a big asset in the Senators’ rebuilding program.