Times Colonist

Tampa axes coach

Tortorella out, Melrose said to be on way in

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The Tampa Lightning fired head coach John Tortorella yesterday, ending weeks of speculatio­n about his future.

The announceme­nt was made by the NHL club’s executive vice-president and general manager, Jay Feaster.

“This has been a very difficult decision because of everything that John Tortorella has meant to and done for this organizati­on,” Feaster said. “Torts came to Tampa and not only built the foundation under our club but he also changed the culture and raised the expectatio­ns, eventually leading us to the Stanley Cup in 2004. What he accomplish­ed during his tenure in Tampa was nothing short of remarkable.”

Tortorella was head coach of the Lightning for six and half seasons. He compiled a record of 239 wins, 222 losses, 36 ties and 38 overtime/shootout losses. This past season, the Lightning compiled a record of 31-42-9, missing the playoffs for just the second time under Tortorella’s tenure.

While there was no immediate announceme­nt on his replacemen­t, rumours have been rampant that former Los Angeles Kings coach Barry Melrose will be named head coach when the sale of the franchise is officially completed later this month.

Movie and television producer Oren Koules and his partners, which include Victoria resident and Bear Mountain Golf Resort CEO Len Barrie, are expected to take over the franchise following the NHL board of governors meeting on June 18.

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