USATSI_10004571_154158418_lowresThe Vancouver Canucks have named Travis Green as their new head coach, the team announced Wednesday.

Green had been coaching Utica in the AHL for the past four seasons and replaces Willie Desjardins in the post, who was fired in April after Vancouver missed the playoffs for the second straight season.

The Canucks finished last in the Pacific Division in 2016-2017, 25 points out of a playoff spot.

“This job is special to me because it is in Vancouver,” Green said. “When people ask where I am from, I am proud to say British Columbia. I remember growing up watching ‘Hockey Night in Canada,’ playing road hockey, cheering for the Canucks. It brings back a lot of great memories, so to coach in this province, it matters to me.”

In 304 games with Utica, Green went 155-110-27-12. He reached the Calder Cup Playoffs twice, making it to the final round in 2015. This season, they went 35-32-7-2 – three points behind St. John’s for fourth place.

The Canucks called Green two days after the end of Utica’s season. Team president of hockey operations Trevor Linden said no other candidates were considered for the post.

“Travis fits where we are as an organization,” Linden said. “He understands young players, he knows how to manage young players, he knows how to set the bar on accountability, what’s expected, the preparation that’s required, so it was a pretty easy decision for us.”

Green has experienced developing several young players currently playing for the Canucks organization including Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, Jake Virtanen, Nikolay Goldobin, Jordan Subban, and Thatcher Demko.

“We need to get younger, it’s no secret,” Green said. “We need to infuse some young players into the lineup. You want young players to be on your team. You want those young players to be the players they should be…and I think how you develop them and how you create those players is vital and it’s not the same for every player.”

Vancouver has not won a playoff series since 2011, when they reached the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins, and the city is relatively tentative as relates to their hockey team right now. Green has his work cut out for him and the process ahead may test the patience of the fanbase. Again.

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