Don Nachbaur is back in the National Hockey League, this time in a coaching capacity.
Nachbaur, a former NHL player who grew up in Prince George, was announced on Thursday as a new assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings. Previously, he had been bench boss of the Western Hockey League's Spokane Chiefs. Nachbaur joined the Chiefs' organization in 2010, and he and the team mutually parted ways on March 30, shortly after a 2016-17 season that ended without a playoff berth.
Nachbaur, 58, leaves the WHL as the third-winningest coach in league history. His 691 victories rank behind Ken Hodge (742) and Don Hay (720).
After 19 seasons behind WHL benches (including six with the Seattle Thunderbirds and six with the Tri-City Americans), as well as stints in the American Hockey League with the Philadelphia Phantoms and Binghamton Senators, Nachbaur is now a first-time NHL coach with the Kings. He'll work with head man John Stevens and fellow assistant Dave Lowry, who signed on with Los Angeles in late May after a five-year tenure as head coach of the WHL's Victoria Royals.
"Don is a great addition to our coaching staff," Stevens said on the Kings' website. "I personally have known him 30-plus years. I played with him and have coached alongside him. He has played the game at a high level and he is a tremendous all-around teacher who is very well-rounded."
Nachbaur and Stevens first crossed paths as players – they were teammates with the AHL's Hershey Bears and then with the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers – and coached together with the Phantoms, with Nachbaur as an assistant from 2000 to 2002 and Stevens as head coach (2000 to 2006).
As an NHL forward, Nachbaur skated in 223 regular-season games with the Hartford Whalers (who drafted him in the third round in 1979), Edmonton Oilers and the Flyers. During that time, he had 23 goals, 69 points and 465 minutes in penalties. He also appeared in 11 playoff games with the Oilers (1983) and Flyers (1987 and 1988).
Nachbaur was born in Kitimat and moved with his family to Prince George in 1967. He played in the Prince George Minor Hockey Association and made the jump to junior A hockey with the Merritt Centennials in 1976. The following season, Nachbaur moved up to the Western Canada Hockey League (the original name of the WHL), where he spent two years with the Billings Bighorns before he turned pro with the Springfield Indians of the AHL in 1979-80. In total, he spent parts of nine seasons in the AHL and amassed 174 goals and 360 assists. In 1988, he won a Calder Cup championship as a member of the Hershey Bears.
Nachbaur was inducted into the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.