Tri-City Americans co-owner takes over as head coach

Stu
Image credit: Tri-City Americans

KENNEWICK, Wash — The Tri-City Americans didn’t search far to fill their vacant head coaching position. Saturday, General Manager Bob Tory unveiled that team alum, and co-owner Stu Barns will man the bench for the 2021-2022 season.

Barns becomes the 15th head coach in Ams history, 33 years after taking the ice for the franchise in its inaugural season.

“Stu had a tremendous impact on the Americans organization as a player and fan favorite,” Tory said at an announcement press conference. “As a fierce competitor himself, he understands the development process of today’s young players and will bring relentless passion and energy to the job. He was also a great leader and will bring those qualities he had as an NHL captain to our team.”

Barns started his Western Hockey League (WHL) career with the New Westminster Bruins and followed the franchise when it relocated to the Tri-Cities in 1988.

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In his first year with the Ams, he won the WHL’s Player of the Year award after netting 59 goals in 70 games. In 1989-1990, he returned to finish his junior career with a solid 144-point season, which ranks second all-time in franchise history for a single season.

Barns went on to play over a decade professionally in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, and Dallas Stars. He captained the Buffalo Sabres for two seasons (2001-02 and 2002-03) and was able to play in the Stanley Cup Final twice.

Following retirement in 2008, Barns turned to coaching at both the professional and youth ranks. He served as an assistant coach for the Dallas Stars for five years before becoming a co-owner of the Americans and coaching at the Okanogan Hockey Academy in Penticton, British Columbia.

Barns recently served as a scout for the Seattle Kraken. He now inherits a junior team coming off its second consecutive losing season.

The Americans 2021-2022 WHL campaign under Barns will begin on Friday, Oct 1, against the Portland Winterhawks.

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