Dan Bylsma

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Dan Bylsma
Dan Bylsma cropped.jpg
Bylsma waving a Penguins flag during the 2009 Stanley Cup victory parade.
Born (1970-09-19) September 19, 1970 (age 43)
Grand Haven, MI, USA
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Left
Played for Los Angeles Kings
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
NHL Draft 109th overall, 1989
Winnipeg Jets
Playing career 1992–2004

Daniel Brian Bylsma[1] (/ˈblzmə/ BYLZ-mə; born September 19, 1970) is a former professional hockey player who is currently the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the United States men's national ice hockey team. He was hired to be the Penguins' head coach on February 15, 2009, replacing Michel Therrien. Prior to coaching the Penguins, he played as a forward in the NHL and coached in the American Hockey League (AHL). He was drafted in the sixth round (109th Overall) of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, by the Winnipeg Jets. On June 12, 2009, four months after becoming head coach in Pittsburgh, Bylsma led the Penguins to their third Stanley Cup Championship winning in 7 games over the Detroit Red Wings.

Early life[edit]

During his high-school days, Bylsma was a standout in many sports, including golf, baseball, and ice hockey. Bylsma graduated from Western Michigan Christian High School where he won the Class D golf individual championship as a freshman. He also played baseball and was the starting left fielder as a freshman on Christian's 1985 State championship team. In his senior year, he was a member of the all-state all-class "Dream Team" (the best player at each position in the state – all classes), and won many regional baseball honors.

Bylsma played amateur hockey in Muskegon Junior Hockey, Norton Shores Recreational Leagues, and Grand Rapids GRAHA before playing Junior "B" hockey in Canada for the St. Marys Lincolns and the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Hockey Association. Bylsma went on to play college hockey at Bowling Green State University from 1988–1992 and was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in his freshman year. He was twice selected to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association All Academic Team and once earned Honorable Mention. He was a Bowling Green Scholar Athlete all four years and won the Jack Gregory Award for the highest grade point average on the team in his Sophomore season and the Howard Brown Coaches' Award for excellence in his Senior year. Bylsma is one of few players in the CCHA to have scored a short handed goal while his team was two men short.

    Regular season  
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1988–89 Bowling Green CCHA 37 4 7 11 16
1989–90 Bowling Green CCHA 44 13 17 30 32
1990–91 Bowling Green CCHA 40 9 12 21 48
1991–92 Bowling Green CCHA 34 11 14 25 24
CCHA totals 155 37 50 87 120

Professional playing career[edit]

Despite being drafted by the Winnipeg Jets, Bylsma never played a game for them, and was signed by the Los Angeles Kings in the summer of 1994. During the 1994–95 labor stoppage, Bylsma earned the nickname "Disco Dan". The nickname was adopted by teammates while playing for a minor league team in Phoenix. Veteran goaltender Byron Dafoe already went by Bylsma's former moniker of "Bysie" so the name "Disco Dan" was given due to Bylsma's penchant for dancing in the locker room.[2]

He played parts of five seasons for the Kings, acting as a defensive forward. In his first season, when he played only four games for the Kings, he was captain of their International Hockey League (IHL) affiliate, the Phoenix Roadrunners. He also played for the Long Beach Ice Dogs, who were the Kings' IHL affiliate after the Roadrunners folded in 1997. Bylsma played 95 American Hockey League (AHL) games with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, the Lowell Lock Monsters, the Springfield Falcons, the Albany River Rats, the Moncton Hawks and the Rochester Americans, and reached the Calder Cup Finals in 1994.

Signed as a free agent by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the summer of 2000, Bylsma was a steadying influence on a rebuilding Anaheim team, and was made an alternate captain. In his second season, he set a career high in points (17).

Bylsma struggled his entire career to stay in the NHL, mostly due to a lack of natural offensive ability (his primary role in the NHL had always been penalty killing). Injuries took a toll in later years, and before being put on waivers in January 2004, Bylsma missed 31 games due to knee surgery. He retired from playing following the 2003–04 season.

Head Coach Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins, Morning Skate in Raleigh, December 3, 2011.

Coaching career[edit]

Bylsma served as an assistant coach with the AHL's Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (2004–05) and the NHL's New York Islanders (2005–06). During the 2008–09 season, Bylsma coached the Penguins' AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

On February 15, 2009, with the Pittsburgh Penguins struggling to make the playoffs, the Penguins organization announced that it had relieved head coach Michel Therrien of his duties and had promoted Bylsma to serve as interim head coach of the team.[3] At 38, he was the youngest head coach in the NHL at the time. Through his first 25 games as Penguins' coach, his 18–3–4 record amounted to 40 points—the second most of any coach in NHL history through their first 25 games.[4] On April 28, Penguins General Manager Ray Shero announced that Bylsma had been named permanent head coach of the team.[5] On June 12, 2009 Bylsma led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup championship, becoming the 14th coach and the second mid-season replacement to win the Stanley Cup in their first season. While the win made him just the fifth ever American-born coach to win the cup, he also became the third American in the last five seasons to do so. Bylsma was awarded the Jack Adams Award as the league's most outstanding coach for the 2010–2011 season due to the Penguins still being a contender for the Stanley Cup without his two star players Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

On April 22, 2013, Bylsma became the fastest NHL coach ever[6] to reach 200 wins with a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. On June 30 of the same year, Bylsma was appointed head coach of the United States Olympic Hockey Team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. On January 7, 2014, a month before coaching at the Winter Olympics, Bylsma became the winningest coach in Penguins history (233 wins) with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

Awards and records[edit]

  • 2011– Jack Adams Award

NHL Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L OTL Pts Finish G W L Result
PIT 2008–09 25 18 3 4 401 2nd in Atlantic 24 16 8 Stanley Cup Champions
PIT 2009–10 82 47 28 7 101 2nd in Atlantic 13 7 6 Lost in conference semi-finals
PIT 2010–11 82 49 25 8 106 2nd in Atlantic 7 3 4 Lost in conference quarter-finals
PIT 2011–12 82 51 25 6 108 2nd in Atlantic 6 2 4 Lost in conference quarter-finals
PIT 2012–13 482 36 12 0 72 1st in Eastern Conference 15 8 7 Lost in conference finals
Total 319 201 93 25 427 65 36 29
  • 1 When Bylsma joined the Penguins after the 57th game of the season the team had earned 59 points. The team earned 40 points with Bylsma as head coach.
  • 2 Only 48 regular season games played due to lockout.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Anderson, Shelly (2009-04-14). "NHL Playoffs: Bylsma's success reads like fish story". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  3. ^ "Dan Bylsma Named Interim Head Coach of Pittsburgh Penguins". Pittsburgh Penguins. 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  4. ^ Starkey, Joe (April 12, 2009). "The book on Penguins coach Bylsma". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 
  5. ^ Molinari, Dave (April 28, 2009). "Bylsma named Penguins head coach; he's no longer 'interim'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  6. ^ [2], Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators Game Recap 4/22/13

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Todd Richards
Head Coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Succeeded by
Todd Reirden
Preceded by
Michel Therrien
Head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins
Preceded by
Dave Tippett
Jack Adams Award
Succeeded by
Ken Hitchcock
Preceded by
Jamie Dixon
Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year
2011 (co-winner with Marc-André Fleury)
Succeeded by
Andrew McCutchen