November 25, 1955|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Height||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Weight||185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)|
Chicago Black Hawks|
Detroit Red Wings
|National team||United States|
43rd overall, 1975|
Chicago Black Hawks
24th overall, 1975|
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.
Youth and junior hockey
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.
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.
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
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|BOS||2002-03||3||3||3||0||.500||3rd in Northeast Division||1||4||Lost In First Round|
|1||4||0 Stanley Cups|
Awards and achievements
- OMJHL First All-Star Team (1975)
- CHL First All-Star Team (1977)
- Most Valuable Defenseman - CHL (1977)
- Played in NHL All-Star Game (1984)
|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||—||—||—||—||—|
|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||—||—||—||—||—|
- Biographical information and career statistics from NHL.com, or Eliteprospects.com, or Legends of Hockey, or The Internet Hockey Database
- O'Connell's bio at Hockeydraftcentral.com
- O'Connell's bio at LAKings.com
- Boston Globe article
| General Manager of the Boston Bruins
| Head coach of the Boston Bruins
| Head coach of the Providence Bruins