NHL Teams

Columbus Blue Jackets Coaching Staff and Coaches History

By Kapil Sapkota / 21 September 2023 11:05 AM

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Columbus Blue Jackets coaching staff includes Pascal Vincent, Steve McCarthy, Nicklas Backstrom, Jared Boll, Derek Dorsett, and others.

In a panel led by Vincent, McCarthy serves as the assistant coach. Backstrom has been assigned the role of goaltending coach for the Jackets. 

During his NHL playing career, Backstrom relished the triumph of winning the Stanley Cup while playing for the Washington Capitals in 2018.

Boll is working for the club as the development assistant coach. He joined the team before the 2018-19 season. As a player, Boll played 9 seasons with the Jackets from the 2007-08 season.

The position of player development coach is divided among Derek Dorsett and Mark Letestu. Both of them are the former players of the team.

Kevin Collins has been taking over the duty of strength and conditioning coach since June 29, 2010. Likewise, the video assistant coach Dan Singleton joined the Blue Jackets in September 2000 as a video coordinator and was promoted to his current position in June 2011.

Jarkko Ruutu was hired as the European player development coach for the team in 2015. He primarily works with young athletes throughout the organization, as well as assists in the development of European prospects playing in different major junior leagues.

Columbus Blue Jackets New Head Coach

Pascal Vincent was appointed as the Columbus Blue Jackets head coach on September 17, 2023, following the resignation of Mike Babcock.

"We are going to be working hard. We are going to be fast, we are going to be structured, we are going to be disciplined, and then we are going to deal with issues one by one. And we are going to stay in the moment,” said Vincent after his promotion to the new role.

Vincent has been with the Blue Jackets since June 25, 2021. He worked as an assistant coach of the franchise for the last two NHL seasons.

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Previously, Pascal spent 10 years with the Winnipeg Jets hockey organization. He initially joined the Jets in July 2011 as an assistant coach.

In 2016, the franchise promoted him to head coach of their AHL farm team, the Manitoba Moose. With the Moose, Vincent won the Most Outstanding Coach award following the 2017-18 season. He left the Moose in June 2021 to join the Jackets.

His coaching career actually started with the Saint-Jean Lynx of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League during the 1988-99 season. Shortly, Vincent was named the head coach of the Quebec AAA Midget Hockey League's Laval-Laurentides-Lanaudiere (LLL) Regents.

He was in the assistant position of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the 1999-2000 season and was subsequently promoted to head coach.

After spending two seasons as the head coach, he was elected as the general manager of the club. In 2007, Vincent clinched the Maurice Filion Trophy as the top GM of the QMJHL. He was awarded the Ron Lapointe Trophy the following year.

The table here shows the Columbus Blue Jackets coaches along with their position:

Coaching StaffDesignation
Steve McCarthyAssistant Coach
Nicklas BackstromGoaltending Coach
Jared BollAssistant Coach, Development
Derek DorsettPlayer Development Coach
Mark LetestuPlayer Development Coach
Kevin CollinsStrength & Conditioning Coach
Dan SingletonVideo Assistant Coach
Jarkko RuutuEuropean Player Development Coach
Brad ThiessenGoaltending Development Coach

Columbus Blue Jackets Assistant Coaches

The Jackets named Steve McCarthy as their assistant coach on September 13, 2021. McCarthy is currently the only assistant coach on the team.

Prior to his current position, Steve spent five seasons with the Jackets' AHL franchise, the Cleveland Monsters in the role of an assistant coach.

"It's overall been a fantastic experience. Obviously, I'm getting to know the guys a lot better, and becoming familiar with the staff, but it's just all positive. I'm excited about the opportunity, and it's just hockey," said McCarthy after being selected for his new role.

McCarthy previously played as a defenceman for 8 seasons in the NHL with the Atlanta Thrashers, Vancouver Canucks, and Chicago Blackhawks.

He was drafted by the Blackhawks in 1999 and traded to the Vancouver Canucks in 2005. Later, the Canucks traded him to the Atlanta Thrashers.

McCarthy left the NHL as a player in the 2008-09 season and began to play with the Russian club Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager

The Blue Jackets' General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen is the first European GM in the NHL. He was elected in the position on 13 February 2013.

In April 2021, Kekalainen was also selected as the general manager of the Finnish national team for the 2022 Olympic Games.

The Blue Jackets have advanced to the Stanley Cup playoffs in four straight seasons from 2017 through 2020 under the management of Jarmo.

Source : dispatch

After retiring from professional playing, Kekalainen started his career as an executive in different sports franchises. From 1995-1999, he worked as the general manager of the Finnish Elite League's IFK Helsinki.

Kekalainen left Finland in 1992 and became director of player personnel for the Ottawa Senators until 2002. After his tenure with the Senators, he started working for the St. Louis Blues as assistant general manager and director of amateur scouting.

In 2010, Jarmo returned to his home country and started serving the Finnish hockey club, Helsingin Jokerit as its general manager.

As a player, Kekalainen appeared in the NHL with the Bruins and the Senators. He played in the AHL with the Maine Mariners and PEI Senators.

Columbus Blue Jackets Coaches History

All the head coaches in the history of the Blue Jackets are listed in the table below along with their tenure.

Dave King2000–2003
Doug MacLean2003–2004
Gerard Gallant2004–2006
Ken Hitchcock2006–2010
Scott Arniel2010–2012
Todd Richards2012–2015
John Tortorella2015–2021
Brad Larsen2021–2023
Mike Babcock2023
Pascal Vincent2023–present

Dave King became the first coach of the Jackets franchise in their first NHL season in 2000-01. He was fired from the position in January 2003.

Doug MacLean became the successor of King and coached the franchise from 2002 to 2003. Previously, MacLean worked as the head coach for the Florida Panthers for 3 seasons from 1995-96 to 1997-98.

The third head coach of the Jackets franchise is Gerard Gallant who served from 2004-2006. Before his promotion, Gallant was working as an assistant coach for the team from 2001.

The Blue Jackets hired Ken Hitchcock as their coach in November 2006. Ken led the team to its first-ever postseason appearance in 2009.

Scott Arniel became head coach of the club in 2010 and was fired from his position in 2012. Previously, Arniel worked for the Buffalo Sabres as their assistant coach.

Todd Richards was named their head coach by the club in January 2012. He has been working for the team as an assistant coach since June 2011. Richards led the Jackets to their first-ever Stanley Cup playoffs on April 19, 2014.

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Another head coach in the Jackets's lineup, John Tortorella is the longest-serving coach in the franchise history. Tortorella was hired in 2015.

He led the team to the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. In 2021, John retired with a record of the winningest head coach in the franchise's history.

Brad Larsen became the successor of Tortorella in June 2021. Before his promotion, he served the franchise for seven years as an assistant coach. Larsen was fired from the position in April 2023.

Columbus hired Mike Babcock on July 1, 2023, for $8 million as the highest-paid coach in the franchise's history. However, he was fired before the team's initial training camp in September following his unacceptable behavior to the players.

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