It’s been some busy days for the NHL’s newest head coach, Kris Knoblauch. Just a few days ago, he coached the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate, and he had never been on the bench as an NHL head coach.
He was an assistant coach with the Flyers some years ago, and now, he’s landed his first job as a head coach.
Knoblauch met his players for the first time Monday and was reunited with superstar Connor McDavid, who he coached in juniors.
Jay Woodcroft led the Oilers to a win over the Seattle Kraken on Sunday but was released from duties just hours later. For Knoblauch, it’s a dream come true to finally coach an NHL team, and it was evident how much it meant for him to get the opportunity.
On Monday morning, Knoblauch held an introduction press conference, and when asked about who helped him reach the NHL, he teared up, and his voice cracked.
“First, it’s my wife,” Knoblauch said. “I’m just a little emotional leaving my family to get here and being here.”
The video of Knoblauch getting emotional quickly went viral, and everybody seemed to love how down-to-earth he seemed. His wife, Autumn, and children are still in Hartford, Connecticut, where Knobluach last coached.
The Oilers’ new head coach couldn’t have asked for a better start with his new team, as he got a 4-1 win over the Islanders.
Following his coaching debut in the NHL, the Oilers had a big surprise waiting for him.
“After the game they did something really special — they had a video on the TV, they presented the puck and they had my wife on the TV, just saying a few words, and that was very nice of them to do,” Knoblauch said per NHL.com. “Usually I go in [the dressing room] after a win and say a few words, and I walk right out and they said, ‘No, you’re not going anywhere,’ and they presented me the puck.”