Nick Polano

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Nick Polano (born March 25, 1941 in Copper Cliff, Ontario, Canada) was the Detroit Red Wings' head coach when owner Mike Ilitch first bought the team in 1982. He later served as the team's assistant general manager.

Polano never played in the National Hockey League, but he did play in the American Hockey League and World Hockey Association for many years as a defenceman. As head coach, his overall record in the NHL was 79-127-34.

Polano played 15 seasons in the minor leagues as a defenceman, spending the majority of his time in the American Hockey League (AHL) with Hershey, Baltimore and Providence, and also played 17 games in the WHA for the Philadelphia Blazers.

Polano began his coaching career in 1975-76 with Erie of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) and led that team to three consecutive regular season and playoff championships. He was twice named EHL coach of the year and in 1981 was named minor league executive of the year by The Sporting News.

Polano spent 10 seasons in the Detroit Red Wings organization as a head coach and assistant general manager. Polano guided the Red Wings from 1982–85 and amassed a 79-127-34 regular season record as their head coach. Polano aided in the defection of several NHL players from behind the Iron Curtain including Petr Klima and Slava Kozlov.

Before joining Detroit, Polano served as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres for one season under Scotty Bowman in 1981-82.

From 1992-2000 Polano worked for the Calgary Flames, first as their director of pro scouting and later as their director of player personnel and general manager and alternate governor for the Saint John Flames.

In August 2002, Polano joined the Ottawa Senators as part-time professional scout.

NHL coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
Detroit Red Wings 1982-83 80 21 44 15 57 5th in Norris Missed playoffs
Detroit Red Wings 1983-84 80 31 42 7 60 3rd in Norris Lost in Division Semi-Finals
Detroit Red Wings 1984-85 80 27 41 12 66 3rd in Norris Lost in Division Semi-Finals
Total 240 79 127 34


Preceded by
Billy Dea
Head coach of the Detroit Red Wings
Succeeded by
Harry Neale