Tampa Bay Lightning fires Wes Walz after he declines Norfolk head coaching job
A tumultuous day for the Tampa Bay Lightning got even more so Wednesday when assistant coach Wes Walz was fired after he declined to take the head coaching job at AHL Norfolk. That job opened when the Lightning promoted Admirals coach Jim Johnson to a Tampa Bay assistant. Walz was removed from his Tampa Bay assistants job to make room for Johnson.
Walz earlier in the day was said to be mulling whether to take the Norfolk job. No immediate word on who will fill that job, though a replacement likely will be named quickly.
Here is the announcement from the team:
Tampa Bay Lightning Assistant Coach Wes Walz has been relieved of his duties today, Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced. Walz was given the opportunity to join the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League as Head Coach but declined.
"We’d like to thank Wes for his dedication to the Lightning organization,” Lawton said. “We wish him the best of luck moving forward in his future endeavors and are extremely thankful for his time with the club.”
Wes Walz was in his second year with the Lightning organization, serving as assistant coach for 143 games, after ending his playing career in December of 2007. His main focus in Tampa was working with the team’s forwards and the penalty killing unit.
A veteran of 13 seasons in the NHL, Walz played in 607 career games with Boston, Philadelphia, Calgary, Detroit and Minnesota. He recorded 109 career goals, 260 points and 14 shorthanded goals. He was known as a defensive specialist, amassing a plus-23 rating during his career.
The Calgary, Alberta native made his mark with the Wild, where he played 438 of his 607 games and was a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward in 2002-03. Walz was twice chosen by the Twin Cities chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association as nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.