In hockey it seems all too often smaller name players leave the game to which they gave so much and get little to no thanks for their efforts. Some may leave with a cup, others may taste only the bitterness of how close they came.
Stu Barnes was never a top-rated player and likely would never have been a child’s favorite hockey player in his later years, so this article is, in a way, a thank you.
Barnes officially announced his retirement today, and along with this news said he would be joining the coaching staff of the Dallas Stars. He signed a two-year contract to replace Ulf Dahlen, who left for his native Sweden, as assistant coach.
Barnes always seemed to skate and see the game differently, which makes him a fitting new member of the Stars' coaching staff.
“I was truly fortunate to play as long as I did, and I knew this was the time for me to wrap up my playing days,” Barnes said in the Stars' press release. “A great opportunity to become an assistant coach was presented to me by the Stars, and I look forward to making that transition and learning a new part of the game.”
“We congratulate Stu on an outstanding playing career and we are very excited that he will now join our coaching staff,” said Co-General Manager Les Jackson in the same press release.
“Stu was a consummate professional on and off the ice throughout his career, and was the type of player who always exhibited the qualities you would associate with a future coach. Stu will be an excellent addition to our staff, which we feel is among the best in the league.”
Barnes was always a leader, and was a fantastic overall player who mastered everything about the sport.
He amassed 597 career NHL points, including 261 goals and 336 assists in 1,136 NHL games. Barnes played with the Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, and Dallas Stars.
He also skated in 116 career Stanley Cup Playoff games over 12 postseasons, scoring 30 goals and 32 assists for 62 points and reaching the Cup Final twice (Buffalo, 1999; Florida, 1996).
Stu Barnes was the type of player I began to model my playing style after. After watching what a force he was in 1999, I knew that he would be a good player to study. In time, even from the television I learned the leadership, and passion he embodied.
When he joined the Stars I was ecstatic. It has been a joy to be a Stars fan and to see one of my favorite players on another team join them. He will be missed on the ice, but surely he will now play an even bigger part in the Stars' success.
In other news, the Stars also extended the contracts of assistant coaches Mark Lamb and Rick Wilson. Both coaches will remain with the team through 2010-2011.
Original Source and Image: Staff, Dallas Stars. "Barnes Joins Coaching Staff." Dallas Stars Website Aug. 28, 2008
Ken Armer is a Senior hockey Writer and a Community Leader for the NHL and Dallas Stars. You can contact him on his profile or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org