It is believed he will be the only co-owner of a WHL franchise who will also be coaching.

Saturday, in a move that surprised a lot of people, former American and 16-year NHL standout Stu Barnes was named as the 15th coach in Tri City Americans franchise history.

Barnes, who along with former teammate and NHL legendary goalie Olaf Kolzig, purchased the Americans in 2004, and have been co-owners ever since.

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Now, he returns full circle, to lead the team that helped spring him into the NHL. Barnes tore up the league in his two years here, scoring 144 points in just 63 games with the team.

Courtesy Tri City Americans 1988-89
Courtesy Tri City Americans 1988-89

He then spent 16 years in the NHL with Winnipeg, Florida, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and finally Dallas. He scored 575 points, including 261 goals in his 1,136 games. Along with Kolzig and Canadiens goalie Carey Price, he is considered one of the 3 greatest Americans alumni.

Americans GM and Governor Bob Tory said this about the move:

“Stu had a tremendous impact on the Americans organization as a player and fan favorite. As a fierce competitor himself, he understands the development process of today’s young players and will bring relentless passion and energy to the job. He was also a great leader and will bring those qualities he had as an NHL captain to our team.”

Barnes has been busy since his retirement in 2008, as illustrated by this resume (via the Americans):

"Since retiring from his playing career in 2008, Barnes has spent five years as an Assistant Coach with the Dallas Stars. He has also coached at the youth level as an Assistant Coach with the Dallas Stars Elite 14U AAA and a Head Coach at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, BC. Most recently, he worked as a Pro Scout for the Seattle Kraken."

The move has already brought a lot of positive and praise to the organization, as many believe he will instill a positive winning way with the team.

It did come as a surprise, as many believed former American standout Don Nachbauer would return to the role he had a few seasons ago.


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