While it hasn’t been officially announced yet, former Wild fan favorite and Richfield native Darby Hendrickson is rejoining the team as an assistant coach. Hendrickson will be the third assistant on Head Coach Todd Richards’ staff, joining Dave Barr and Rick Wilson.
This will be Hendrickson’s first coaching role. He most recently served as an analyst on hockey broadcasts for Fox Sports North.
Hendrickson was widely considered one of the nicest guys to ever call the Wild locker room home. In the club’s early years, Hendrickson was often teased by his teammates due to the adoration he received from being a hometown hero. Brad Bombardir tabbed him “The Governor” because he was always “willing to shake hands and kiss babies.”
Hendrickson was also a major player in the team’s early years, and scored some of the biggest goals in club history. He was the first Wild player to score a goal at Xcel Energy Center in a 3-3 tie with Philadelphia. He lit the lamp twice in the Wild’s 6-0 trouncing of the Dallas Stars in the first ever meeting between the two clubs. And, he scored the game-winning goal in the Wild’s 4-2 win over Vancouver in Game Seven of the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals.
Updated with official release: Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has named Darby Hendrickson an Assistant Coach.
Hendrickson, 38 (8/28/72), was an original member of the Wild and one of the most popular players in team history, playing four seasons (2000-2004) and scored the team’s first goal at Xcel Energy Center on Oct. 11, 2000 vs. Philadelphia. The Richfield, Minn., native posted 60 points (29-31=60) in 182 regular season games with the Wild. He appeared in 17 playoff matches with Minnesota in 2003 and recorded five points (2-3=5) including the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinal series at Vancouver. Hendrickson also skated with Toronto, the New York Islanders, Vancouver and Colorado, posting 129 points (65-64=129) in 518 NHL games in parts of 10 NHL seasons.
He played for the University of Minnesota for two seasons (1991-93) after earning the 1991 Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award and was a member of the 1994 United States Olympic Team. Hendrickson most recently served as a studio analyst for FOX Sports North and an analyst for KSTC-TV, Channel 45’s coverage of the state high school hockey tournament, as well as a National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) Northwest Division Representative.