John Tortorella has a history of success in his hockey career. He has gone on to be an extremely successful coach in the NHL. In his playing career, he never quite made it to the highest level, but he still had success through his years of playing hockey. The Philadelphia Flyers are hoping it will translate into this 2023-2024 season and continue far into the future.
John Tortorella’s History of Success
Torts has been involved with hockey his entire life. Growing up in the northeast, it’s something that came easy to him. At every level Tortorella has had success. At the high school level, the college level, and even the professional level. Through all of his experiences it has shaped him into the coach he is today for the Flyers.
Torts Playing Career
Tortorella attended Concord-Carlisle High School in Concord, Massachusetts. After the success he has had, he is now listed on the school’s athletic Hall of Fame wall. His brother, Jim, is also listed on the Hall of Fame wall. Success runs in the Tortorella family.
Torts began his playing career at Salem State College. He then transferred to the University of Maine for his last three seasons. At Maine, he was twice named an Eastern College Athletic Conference All-Star.
Torts took his playing career professional after that. Never cracking the NHL, but playing in multiple other leagues for years before starting his coaching career. He played a year in Sweden, then he came back to the United States and played four years of minor professional hockey in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League (ACHL). He played for three teams; the Hampton Roads Gulls, the Erie Golden Blades, and the Virginia Lancers.
Torts Coaching Career
Then came Tortorella’s coaching career. He got off to a slow start. He took over the Tampa Bay Lightning as a mid-season head coach replacement. It took two years for Torts to crack a winning record. But when he did, it didn’t disappoint. It came in the 2002-2003 season where Torts was recognized as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award. The next season, he had figured it out. The Lightning had the second best record in the league. Torts led the Lightning to their first ever Stanley Cup, being the first American-born coach to win it in the past 13 years. He was awarded the Jack Adams Award following that season.
Eventually, Torts made his way to the New York Rangers. In 2011-12, he guided the Rangers to the Franchise’s first ever 50-win season. The team also had the best record in the eastern conference. He was a finalist again for the Jack Adams Award for the third time. He lost to Ken Hitchcock this time. On March 26, 2013, he became the first U.S.-born coach to reach 400 career wins.
He moved on and coached the Vancouver Canucks for one season, where he had a 36-35 record. Lots of drama ended his tenure there pretty quickly. He then moved on to the Columbus Blue Jackets. On March 19, 2016, Torts became the first coach born in the U.S. to coach 1,000 career games. Later that year he became the first American-born coach to reach 500 victories. His success in 2016-17 resulted in his second Jack Adams Award. He finished his coaching tenure with the Blue Jackets as the winningest coach in franchise history.
Torts and the Flyers
Tortorella is now in his second season with the Flyers. In his first and only season, he recorded a 31-38 record, putting the Flyers 7th in the Metropolitan division. Known for his slow starts, the Flyers faithful are hoping to see his gradual success start to happen in Philly sooner rather than later. If history does repeat itself, Torts will figure out the recipe for success in the coming years and have the Flyers back competing for a Stanley Cup.
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