The Commissioner’s Trophy was awarded to the Coach of the Year in the International Hockey League from 1984-85 to 2000-01. Butch Goring, behind the bench of the Utah Grizzlies, was the only two time winner of the trophy. Three coaches to win the Commissioner’s Trophy were head coaches in the National Hockey League during the 2012-13 season.
Tippett coached the Phoenix Coyotes in 2012-13. It was Dave’s fourth year as head coach in Phoenix and his tenth as head coach in the NHL. Previous to the Coyotes, Tippett was behind the bench of the Dallas Stars for six years.
Dave won the Commissioner’s Trophy in 1998-99 with the Houston Aeros. It was his fourth and final year behind the bench in Houston. The team finished first overall in the 16 team league with 121 points over the 82 game regular season schedule. The Aeros were crowned Turner Cup champions in the playoffs, but it wasn’t easy. Each series they played went the distance, including the final series won over the Orlando Solar Bears, four games to three.
As a player, Tippett appeared in 721 NHL regular season games between 1983-84 and 1993-94. Dave kept it on the eastern seaboard, playing for the Hartford Whalers, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.
In his first year coaching in the IHL, Boudreau was awarded the Commissioner’s Trophy with the Fort Wayne Komets. The team finished second in the Atlantic Division and lost in the Turner Cup finals to the Atlanta Knights.
2012-13 was Bruce’s first full season coaching the Anaheim Ducks after splitting the 2011-12 season between the Washington Capitals and Anaheim. He had coached Washington since 2007-08 and won the Jack Adams Award in his first year as the NHL Coach of the Year. He has yet to win a Stanley Cup but won a Kelly Cup championship in the ECHL with the Mississippi Sea Wolves in 1998-99 and a Calder Cup championship in the AHL with the Hershey Bears in 2005-06.
Bruce Boudreau played 141 regular season games in the National Hockey League from 1976-77 to 1981-82, all with the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, Bruce shone brightly as a star in the minors.
Sutter is in just his second year as head coach of the Los Angeles Kings after leading the team to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011-12. Previously, Darryl had been head coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames.
In his only year as head coach of the Indianapolis Ice, Sutter was awarded the Commissioner’s Trophy in 1989-90. It was just his second year of coaching and his second year in the IHL. The Ice finished first in the West Division and second overall in the IHL with 114 points over 82 games. Indianapolis lost just two of fourteen games in the playoffs, including a four game sweep of the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the finals, to capture the Turner Cup.
Sutter played 406 regular season games in the National Hockey League from 1979-80 to 1986-87, all with the Chicago Blackhawks.