Chuck Fletcher explains decision to fire Wild coach Todd Richards
After two poor seasons, head coach of the Minnesota Wild Todd Richards was ousted from his job this morning.
Now, Chuck Fletcher, the team's general manager, is explaining why he made his decision.
Fletcher complimented Richards for his "unbelievable" work ethic and then, in a tone that at times bordered on weary, explained that professional sports all about results. And even though Richards led the team to a winning 39-35-8 record--12th in the Western Conference--he failed to bring the Wild to the playoffs.
"I will point out I do really believe in sports that not every coach is the right fit for every team," Feltcher said. "I felt to get the most out of this group of players, we needed a new voice and a new direction."
Fletcher, who is known for carefully calculating all factors before making a move, said he has been thinking about his decision for a while. Rumors of a potential ouster had had been flying for some time, but Fletcher told Richards he was fired this morning.
"It was a very difficult decision and a difficult day on many levels," Fletcher said.
Fletcher and Richards had worked together for several years. The Wild's GM tapped Richards as head coach two years ago. Before that, they'd worked together when Fletcher was assistant GM and Richards was head coach at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, an AHL team.
"His work ethic was unbelievable. His passion was great," Fletcher said. "He's a good coach. He's a good hockey coach."
"But ultimately, it's my responsibility to make the right decision for the organization, and I felt going forward that we needed a new voice and a new direction. I made the decision to let Todd go."
Fielding questions from reporters, Fletcher said the team's poor ticket sales this season had nothing to do with Richards' ouster. As for how he let Richards know the bad news, Fletcher simply said the conversation was short.
"It was a brief conversation. I just want to leave it at that. He's naturally disappointed, as was I, and it wasn't easy. Our relationship goes back a few years, and we've been through a lot of good times and good seasons and this did not end the way either one of us wanted."
You can hear the press conference with Fletcher here.
Previous coverage: *Todd Richards fired by Minnesota Wild
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.