Mike O'Connell

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Mike O'Connell
Born (1955-11-25) November 25, 1955 (age 60)
Chicago, IL, USA
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Defense
Shot Right
Played for Chicago Black Hawks
Boston Bruins
Detroit Red Wings
NHL Draft 43rd overall, 1975
Chicago Black Hawks
WHA Draft 24th overall, 1975
Phoenix Roadrunners
Playing career 1977–1990

Michael Thomas O'Connell (born November 25, 1955) is the Director of Pro Development for the Los Angeles Kings. O'Connell was also a former professional ice hockey player and general manager. He played 860 National Hockey League (NHL) regular season games between 1977 and 1990 and later served as the general manager of the Boston Bruins from 2000 until 2006. He is the son of former National Football League (NFL) quarterback Tommy O'Connell and brother of former World Hockey Association (WHA) player Tim O'Connell.

Playing career[edit]

Youth and junior hockey[edit]

O'Connell was raised in Cohasset, Massachusetts, and grew up playing hockey and gridiron football at Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree. He moved to the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League's Kingston Canadians as a teenager, following the recommendation of Boston Bruins General Manager Harry Sinden and was promptly named best OMJHL defenceman in 1974–75.

NHL career[edit]

O'Connell was chosen in the second round, 43rd overall, by the Chicago Black Hawks in the 1975 NHL Entry Draft. His professional career for the Hawks began in the minors with the Canadian Hockey League's Dallas Black Hawks in 1976–77. He became the first Chicago native to play for the Black Hawks in 1978, but most of his career was spent in his adopted home state of Massachusetts with the Boston Bruins, who obtained him in a trade for Al Secord in 1980. An excellent skater, O'Connell was a solid all-around player, being both reliable in the defensive zone and consistently effective on offense, with a hard, accurate shot from the point. His best years were spent in Boston, helping to make up a defensive squad that included Brad Park and Ray Bourque. He played in the 1984 NHL All-Star Game while with the Bruins, also representing the United States at the 1981 Canada Cup and 1985 Ice Hockey World Championship tournaments. O'Connell finished his NHL career as a penalty killer and defensive specialist with the Detroit Red Wings in 1989, who had obtained him in a trade for Reed Larson in 1986. He also served as an alternate captain during his time with the Red Wings.[1]

Management career[edit]

Following retirement as a player, O'Connell served as head coach of the San Diego Gulls of the International Hockey League (IHL) in 1990–91. Despite a losing record, Harry Sinden hired his protégé to coach the Bruins' top minor league affiliate, the Providence Bruins. O'Connell was then named the Bruins' assistant general manager in 1994, also becoming vice president of hockey operations in 1998 and alternate governor in 2000. The Bruins named O'Connell vice president and general manager on November 1, 2000, and he later signed a five-year contract extension on June 21, 2002. He was however fired from the job on March 25, 2006 following a controversial number of player trades that did not work out well for the Bruins. Notably, O'Connell decided to trade high-scoring center Joe Thornton.

In 2003–04 season, under his direction, the Bruins finished first in the Northeast Division, second in the Eastern Conference and fourth overall in the NHL with 104 points. The NHL then locked-out its players for the 2004–05 season and the Bruins lost five players previously acquired by O'Connell (Michael Nylander, Brian Rolston, Sean O'Donnell, Mike Knuble and Sergei Gonchar) to free agency. O'Connell blamed Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs for the decision to not re-sign the free agents.

In 2005, O'Connell traded Bruins star center Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks, receiving Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau in exchange. Thornton would ultimately win the Hart Memorial Trophy as the League's most valuable player and the Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion at the conclusion of the 2005–06 season.

Many important players on the Bruins roster were drafted during O'Connell's tenure as general manager, including Patrice Bergeron and David Krejčí, centerpieces of the team's eventually Stanley Cup victory in 2011.

O'Connell is currently the director of professional player development with the Los Angeles Kings.

NHL coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Tied OTL Win % Finish Won Lost Result
BOS 2002-03 3 3 3 0 .500 3rd in Northeast Division 1 4 Lost In First Round
Total 3 3 3 0 .500 0 Division
Championships
1 4 0 Stanley Cups

Awards and achievements[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1973–74 Kingston Canadiens OHA 70 16 43 59 81
1974–75 Kingston Canadiens OMJHL 50 18 55 73 47
1975–76 Dallas Black Hawks CHL 70 6 37 43 50 10 2 8 10 8
1976–77 Dallas Black Hawks CHL 63 15 53 68 30 5 1 4 5 0
1977–78 Dallas Black Hawks CHL 62 6 45 51 75 13 1 11 12 8
1977–78 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 6 1 1 2 2
1978–79 New Brunswick Hawks AHL 35 5 20 25 21
1978–79 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 4 22 26 20 4 0 0 0 4
1979–80 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 78 8 22 30 52 7 0 1 1 0
1980–81 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 34 5 16 21 32
1980–81 Boston Bruins NHL 48 10 22 32 42 3 1 3 4 2
1981–82 Boston Bruins NHL 80 5 35 40 75 11 2 2 4 20
1982–83 Boston Bruins NHL 80 14 39 53 42 17 3 5 8 12
1983–84 Boston Bruins NHL 75 18 42 60 42 3 0 0 0 0
1984–85 Boston Bruins NHL 78 15 50 65 64 5 1 5 6 0
1985–86 Boston Bruins NHL 63 8 21 29 47
1985–86 Detroit Red Wings NHL 13 1 7 8 16
1986–87 Detroit Red Wings NHL 77 5 26 31 70 16 1 4 5 14
1987–88 Detroit Red Wings NHL 48 6 13 19 38 10 0 4 4 8
1988–89 Detroit Red Wings NHL 66 1 15 16 41 6 0 0 0 4
1989–90 Detroit Red Wings NHL 66 4 14 18 22
NHL totals 860 105 335 440 605 82 8 24 32 64

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Harry Sinden
General Manager of the Boston Bruins
200006
Succeeded by
Jeff Gorton
Preceded by
Robbie Ftorek
Head coach of the Boston Bruins
2003
Succeeded by
Mike Sullivan
Preceded by
None
Head coach of the Providence Bruins
1992–94
Succeeded by
Bob Francis