Given his success as a minor league head coach, Peter Horachek figured it was only a matter of time until he got a similar opportunity in the National Hockey League.
Now, it seems, too much time has passed.
“Most people seem not to know it,” Horachek said Monday. “That’s OK. It’s good to be able to make them aware.
“The big thing that comes up in meetings is what Nashville does and how consistent we have been. Teams don’t want to go through coaches every few years, so they’re looking for someone who can be effective for a long period of time.”
A Nashville Predators assistant coach for the past seven seasons, Horachek, in recent weeks, finally emerged as a candidate for an NHL job.
He interviewed with the Florida Panthers, who last week hired Kevin Dineen, and with the Dallas Stars, who have not yet made their decision. There also was a report, which he called inaccurate, that he interviewed with the Minnesota Wild.
“I’ve never talked to [Minnesota] or heard from them,” Horacheck said.
He won championships as a coach in both the East Coast and International Hockey Leagues. He spent one season as coach of Nashville’s top minor league affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, and led that team to the first playoff series victory of its affiliation with the Predators.
Trotz added him to the Predators’ staff in 2003-04, and he has been there ever since.
“Because of what I had done, when I made the decision to come here I figured it would happen much quicker than it has. But that’s OK. As long as I like the place I’m working and the people I work with I’m going to be happy. That’s always been the case here.”
Still, his primary goal remains to one day become an NHL head coach in his own right.
“What’s exciting right now is that my name is out there and I get the opportunity to get in front of people and give them a chance to get to know me,” Horachek said. “Our success in Nashville has a lot to do with that.”
Even more than he might have expected.
• Defense prospect Ryan Ellis, the 2009 first-round draft pick, was named the Mickey Renaud Captain’s Trophy winner, indicative of the Ontario Hockey League captain who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice, with a passion and dedication to the game of hockey and his community.
In addition to serving as captain of the Windsor Spitfires in 2010-11, Ellis also was captain of Canada’s junior national team at the 2011 World Junior Championships and Team OHL in the Subway Super Series.