Wenatchee Wild Name New Head Coach
PHOTO: Kevin Constantine in the 2022 ICE Hockey League playoffs in Hungary. Constantine was hired Thursday by the Wenatchee Wild as the first head coach in the team’s Western Hockey League history. (Photo credit: Attila Török)
Austin Draude Wenatchee Wild Media Relations & Broadcast Manager
WENATCHEE, Wash. – The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the Western Hockey League (WHL), are excited to announce the hiring of Kevin Constantine as the team’s new head coach. Constantine comes to Wenatchee after spending two seasons guiding the Fehevar AV19 professional team in Hungary.
“I am excited to be part of a new era of hockey for the city of Wenatchee,” said Constantine. “On a personal level, I am excited to be back in the U.S.A. with family after spending the last six years coaching overseas, and on a hockey level, I hope our coaching staff can help the team provide some exciting hockey for the Wenatchee community. More than anything, I hope our coaching staff can have a positive impact on the careers and lives of the athletes we coach.”
A native of International Falls, Minnesota, Constantine brings nearly 40 years of coaching experience to Wenatchee, including seven years as a National Hockey League head coach, going 161-150-61-5 with the San Jose Sharks, Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils. His career also includes a pair of four-year stretches in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips from 2003 to 2007, and again from 2013 to 2017. Constantine’s teams went 326-199-51 in his eight seasons behind a WHL bench and never missed the playoffs, winning five U.S. Division championships during his tenure. He earned a Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as the league’s top coach after leading the Silvertips to the WHL Final in 2004, and added a WHL regular-season title three years later.
“We could not be more excited to have Kevin Constantine leading us on the ice and committed to the Wenatchee Wild for the next four years,” said Wenatchee general manager Bliss Littler. “Kevin has been a proven winner at every level he has coached, and his winning record in the NHL and WHL as a head coach is very impressive. Kevin is looked at as one of the great teachers in the game, both on the ice and off the ice in developing young men. One current NHL coach told me he feels we are getting the best version of Kevin Constantine. As the Wild move on to our next chapter in the WHL, we feel Kevin is the perfect fit for our players and our organization.”
In addition to his hockey experience in the United States, he has an extensive resume on the international scene, coaching professional teams overseas in France, Switzerland, South Korea, Poland and Hungary. He has also served once as a head coach and twice as an assistant coach for Team USA at the World Junior championships, and coached the Hungarian national team at the World Championships in Finland this past May.
Constantine will follow James Patrick in the head coaching role, after his stint with the Winnipeg ICE before the team’s relocation to Wenatchee last month. His hiring brings the Wild a step closer to completing their 2023-24 coaching staff – the team recently announced it would retain previous Wenatchee head coach Chris Clark as the team’s associate head coach for the upcoming campaign, and is in the process of hiring an additional full-time assistant coach to help lead the team this year.
The Wild begin play in the WHL against the Portland Winterhawks with the home opener on September 22nd.