Former Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher has found himself out of a job in Switzerland one week after stating it would be his final season coaching for SC Bern.
SC Bern announced Wednesday that Boucher, who joined the club in January 2014, has been relieved of his duties as head coach and has been replaced by Lars Leuenberger. Bern had lost four straight games and sat in ninth place in the Swiss NLA.
“The Board of Directors of [SC Bern] has…concluded that a continuation of the collaboration with Guy Boucher is not promising,” a team statement read. “The decision to separate from [Boucher] has nothing to do with his announcement to leave the SCB in spring.”
Boucher had said in a release this past Wednesday that he had come to the decision with his family that it was time to return to North America, adding that he was relieved that he had made the choice to head home.
“It has been a process within my family over a couple of months,” Boucher said in the release, via SwissHockeyNews.ch. “The decision has nothing to do with (SC Bern), where I feel very comfortable, nor with other professional perspectives.”
In a statement released on SC Bern’s website, Boucher continued by saying his mother had been diagnosed with cancer and while she’s doing much better, he understands the importance of being closer to home to be able to be near his family. Boucher again addressed fans on SC Bern’s website Wednesday.
In his statement, he said he understands the decision by the club to replace him with another coach and knew that when he announced it would be his final season the door was open for the team to replace him. “My wife, my children and I are very grateful for the wonderful experience that we experienced with the SCB and in Bern,” Boucher added. “I thank you all very much.”
In speaking with TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Boucher said he “wants to coach in the NHL again.” According to reports, he came close to landing a job with the Toronto Maple Leafs this past off-season. However, when the Maple Leafs inked bench boss Mike Babcock to a monster eight-year deal, Boucher’s reported opportunity with Toronto fell by the wayside. That said, Boucher’s name is often one that comes up during coaching vacancies.
With Todd Richards already being replaced in Columbus by John Tortorella, there aren’t many obvious candidates for replacement. One name that has been mentioned as potentially on the hot seat, however, has been Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Johnston. Johnston’s Penguins got off to a slow start this season, but have won seven of their past 10 games and are still in the thick of things in the Metropolitan Division.
Boucher’s best bet will likely be to land a job in the off-season, but there’s still the possibility he finds himself in line for a gig if there’s a mid-season firing in the NHL. During his 195 games behind the bench with Tampa Bay, Boucher led the Lightning to an Eastern Conference final in his first season as coach. He posted a 97-78-20 record in Tampa Bay, but missed the playoffs in each of his final two seasons as Lightning bench boss, leading to his firing in 2013.