Canucks Fire Coach Travis Green and Hire Former Minnesota Coach Bruce Boudreau

Last Updated: Dec 18th 2021   Published: Dec 17th 2021   6 Min Read
Canucks Fire Coach Travis Green and Hire Former Minnesota Coach Bruce Boudreau
Image © Bob Frid / USA TODAY Sports

Owners of the Canucks announced they were letting go of three key members of their off-ice staff on Monday, including head coach Travis Green, general manager Jim Benning, and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner.

The firing comes after the team has experienced a string of losses and poor performance all season. Though many of the setbacks early in the season were due to COVID, fans were calling on the firing of the coaching team for weeks.

Canucks fire coach Travis Green, GM Jim Benning, and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner

On Monday, December 6, the Canucks fired head coach Travis Green, general manager Jim Benning, and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner.

The decision probably didn’t come as a shock to the coaches and general manager, as the off-ice team had been meeting with team owners since the beginning of November to talk about how the team could be doing better this year.

The Canucks were ranked last in the all-Canadian North Division. 

Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini released a statement, saying:

"First, I want to sincerely thank Jim, John, Travis, and Nolan for their passion and dedication to the organization and our community. We are grateful for everything they have done for the Canucks during their tenure, and we wish them nothing but success in the future.’

"These are difficult decisions, but we believed we would have a competitive group this year. As a result, I'm extremely disappointed in how the team has performed so far. I'm making these changes because we want to build a team that competes for championships and it's time for new leadership to help take us there."

Who is Travis Green?

Travis Green has been the head coach of the Canucks since the 2017 seasons. 

In the 2020-21 season, the Canucks were ranked 23 - 29 in the North Division. In the 2019-2020 season, the team was ranked 36 - 27. In the 2019-2019 season, the team was ranked 35-36. 

Basically, the team wasn’t always doing as poorly as it has been this season.

Before Green was hired by the Canucks, he was the head coach of the American Hockey League's (AHL) Utica Comets; the team was led by Green to the Calder Cup finals in the 2014-15 season. 

He was the assistant coach and assistant general manager of the Portland Winterhawks in 2008 and served as interim head coach of the team in 2012. 

Green was also a player and played center. Previous teams included the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Phoenix Coyotes, and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Who is Jim Benning?

The Canucks also fired general manager Jim Benning.

Benning was hired as general manager by the Canucks on May 23, 2014. His history with the team has been eventful (to say the least). In 2016, the Canucks were fined $50,000 as the result of “tampering” by Benning. 

In 2018, the Canucks named Benning interim team president of the Canucks, and Benning’s contract was extended in 2019.

Before he was with the Canucks, Benning served as an amateur scout for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, a scout for the Buffalo Sabres, and the assistant general manager of the Boston Bruins. 

During his time with the Bruins, he helped lead the team to a Stanley Cup Championship in 2011.

Benning also played defense for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Team Canada, the Vancouver Canucks, Milwaukee Admirals, and Tampa Bay Lightnings. 

Why did the Canucks fire Travis Green and Jim Benning?

There are a few reasons why the Canucks decided to fire head coach Travis Green and general manager Jim Benning. One of the main reasons was that the Canucks weren’t ranking well (despite acquiring fresh talent this year) and that the fans were wildly unhappy with the team’s performance. 

Canucks ​​2021-22 NHL Season Ranking

The main reason the Canucks fired Green and Benning was that the team was ranked last in the all-Canadian North Division.

Their record at the time of the firing was 8-15-2 in 25. The team was the fifth-lowest in the NHL and the lowest in the Pacific Division. 

While the rankings were obviously not great, the team also struggled with a COVID-19 outbreak. The outbreak began in March of 2021 and has affected every player on the team. At the beginning of April, 21 Canucks players tested positive for COVID-19

Ever since the team has struggled to keep players on the ice. Less than 24 hours ago, three more players have tested positive for COVID. 

Poor Player Performance

Low rankings and COVID are one thing, but the team has struggled with player performance for the entire, season too. While owners could possibly link poor performance to COVID, the fact that the team’s new, fresh talent was struggling as much as it has been, was something that fans and the powers that be just couldn’t ignore.

New talent, including Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Bo Horvat, have not performed up to the expectations of the owners or the fans. 

Fan Disapproval

Fans have been calling for the Canucks to fire Travis Green and Jim Benning for some time now. This is possibly the massive straw that broke the team’s owners’ backs.

The Canucks fanbase is pretty die-hard. They earned themselves infamy when a few fans created the Force, dressing up in green screen suits and crazy antics as they sit behind the opposing team’s penalty box.

Canucks fans are serious about their team. And they’ve been calling for some serious changes to be made throughout the 2021-22 season. 

If the fans hadn’t been so adamant about the firing of the Canucks’ off-ice team, would Green, Benning, and Nolan still have their jobs? 

Canucks hire Bruce Boudreau as new head coach

With every penalty box door that closes, another opportunity opens for someone else. 

After the firing of Travis green, the Canucks announced their new head coach Bruce Boudreau and assistant coach Scott Walker.

“I am excited to add Bruce Boudreau as our new Head Coach, and Scott as Assistant. Bruce is one of the most experienced coaches in the NHL, with nearly 1,000 games behind the bench and a successful track record working with some of the game’s best talent. Scott is a young coach with an excellent reputation who will fit in very well with our group.”

Who is Bruce Boudreau?

After the Canucks owners fired Travis Green, they hired Bruce Boudreau as the new head coach. 

He has been the head coach for a number of NHL teams, including the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, and Minnesota Wilds. Before the major leagues, Boudreau spent most of his career as a minor-league center.

He played for the American Hockey League (AHL), the Toronto Marlboros, the Minnesota Fighting Saints, and the Adirondack Red Wings. He was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he couldn’t come to an agreement on his contract with the team. 

Boudreau is no stranger to firings himself. He’s been fired from teams, such as Washington Capitals and the Minnesota Wild (he was fired from the Wild in February 2020).

Who is the Canucks’ new GM?

Since the Canucks have cleaned shop, they needed a new head coach, assistant coach, and general manager. As of yet, they haven’t hired a new general manager, but they have instilled an interim GM, Jim Rutherford, to replace Jim Benning. 

Who is Jim Rutherford?

Jim Rutherford is the interim general manager for the Canucks. Rutherford is 72 years old and also has a long history with professional hockey.

He also serves as the president of hockey operations for the Canucks. Before signing on with the Canucks, he was the ​​president, general manager, and part-owner of the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes. He was with the Whalers/Hurricanes for nearly 20 years. 

After leaving the Hurricanes, he became the general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins (which were just purchased by the Fenway Group). He has won three Stanley Cups.

Before his off-ice hockey career, Rutherford played goalkeeper for the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Los Angeles Kings.

Who will replace Jim Rutherford?

Jim Rutherford won’t stick around as general manager of the Canucks for long. He’s only stepping in for the time being. 

While the Canucks sought out talent outside of the team to find its new head coach and assistant coach, they are looking to possibly promote internally for their next general manager. 

Some of the names that have been thrown around by sportswriters include Stan Smyl, a former Canucks player; Ryan Johnson, director of player development for the Canucks, or Henrik or Daniel Sedin, special advisers to the general manager. 

Or, it’s possible that the Canucks will look toward former team managers to fill the spot left by Jim Rutherford?


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