Classy Move By Lincs Alumni Member – NHL Coach Dan Bylsma – by C. Scott Holland
What a classy guy! Dan Bylsma, the former St. Marys Lincolns player, and former Pittsburgh Penguins coach – now head coach of the Buffalo Sabres has proven he cares not only about the game, but about the NHL’s young fans. At a recent contest between Buffalo and Pittsburgh he tossed a puck to a young fan who eagerly awaited for the it on a stairway behind the Buffalo bench. But the puck was intercepted – basically stolen, by a grown-up Pittsburgh Penguins fan.
The last laugh was on that adult male fan who looked more like “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” The coach who appeared extremely disappointed and disgusted by the man’s behaviour shortly afterward, made sure the young fan got a puck (two to be exact) and the Penguins made sure the youngster also received a Sidney Crosby sweater as well.
Bylsma’s career to the NHL began with the St. Marys Lincolns where in 1987/88 he played in 40 games and posted 69 points by scoring 30 goals and adding 39 assists. But his real ability was on the powerplay where he notched 14 goals with the man advantage.
After attending Bowling Green University for four seasons he was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets but broke in with the Los Angeles Kings in 1995/96. He finished his playing days with the Anaheim Ducks (2000/01-2003/04). However that wasn’t then end of the Grand Haven, Michigan native’s hockey career. He became an assistant coach with several AHL teams and spent the 2005/06 season as an NHL assistant coach with the N.Y. Islanders. From 2008/09 until last season he was head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins and took over as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres this season.
Dan won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s best coach in 2010/11 and guided the Penguins to a Stanley Cup Championship in 2008/09.