After acquiring defenseman Ryan Ellis last weekend, the Philadelphia Flyers weren’t done making moves to (hopefully) contend for a playoff spot next season. The team announced that they have hired Darryl Williams as an assistant coach.
OFFICIAL: We have named Darryl Williams as an assistant coach. Williams will join Mike Yeo, Michel Therrien, Kim Dillabaugh and Adam Patterson on head coach Alain Vigneault's staff. https://t.co/BwG3BjhYTb— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) July 19, 2021
Williams, 53, has spent the last couple of years as an assistant coach of the Newfoundland Growlers, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ ECHL affiliate, during a little bit of a homecoming period for the brief former NHLer. The Labrador City, Newfoundland native played two games for the Los Angeles Kings during his professional career as a player.
“Darryl has experience at every level and I am confident that he will fit seamlessly into our coaching staff,” said Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault via the team’s press release. “There is a high level of familiarity having worked with Darryl for several years and I know what he is capable of to help bring success to our group.”
The familiarity between Vigneault and Williams is undeniable. Of the 10 seasons that Williams has been behind the bench at the NHL level, the current Flyers head coach was in charge during nine of them — either with the New York Rangers or Vancouver Canucks, the newest member of Philadelphia’s coaching staff was with Vigneault.
His time in Vancouver was hazy; he was the assistant coach from 2008 to 2010, but was then given the role as a video coach from 2010, until 2014, one year after Vigneault was let go by the Canucks. Vigneault then brought him along to New York and he served all five years that Vigneualt was head coach as an assistant.
Despite some awkwardness surrounding the partnership, it has at least led to success in the past. With the Canucks, they were famously just one win away from lifting the Stanley Cup back in 2011, and even with the Rangers they were treated to a Final appearance in their first year, followed by a trip to the Eastern Conference Final the following year.
It might just be some magical match that the Flyers need.