Catching up with Paul Jerrard

The hiring of Dallas Stars assistant coach Paul Jerrard came out late Sunday night. The Stars made it official Tuesday, and then it got overshadowed by the news that Joe Nieuwendyk and Ed Belfour were going into the Hall of Fame.

So, I’ll put Jerrard on the front burner this morning.

While Jerrard may be best known as Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan’s assistant in Texas for the past two years, he’s got a little bit longer history with the Stars’ organization than that.

He also was an assistant with the Iowa Stars, Dallas’ AHL affiliate from 2005-2008. Among the current Dallas Stars who made their way through Iowa when Jerrard was there: Loui Eriksson, Nicklas Grossman, Krys Barch, Toby Petersen, Mark Fistric and Tom Wandell.

That, Jerrard said, will make the transition to the Dallas Stars a little easier.

“It certainly does help,” said Jerrard. “A number of players that are playing on the Dallas Stars I previously coached in Iowa or Texas. I am very familiar with a lot of the players, a lot of the expectations and the great pride the organization takes.”

Jerrard also noted that Steve Ott was in Iowa briefly for a conditioning stint. In Texas, he and Gulutzan coached Jamie Benn in the Calder Cup playoffs and this past season they coached guys like Philip Larsen and Tomas Vincour, who should be in the hunt for roster spots this coming season.

After Dallas-Iowa affiliation ended following the 2007-08 season, Jerrard stayed in Des Moines one more season as an assistant with the Iowa Chops, who were affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks. The next season he moved on to Texas and hooked up with Gulutzan.

“Gully is a very sharp hockey mind, a hardworking hockey mind,” Jerrard said. “We kind of came together basically unknown and meshed together well.”

So did the Texas Stars, making it to the Calder Cup Finals in the team’s inaugural season then to the playoffs again in their second season.

Jerrard is taking over for Charlie Huddy, who was let go by Dallas last week. Huddy handled the Dallas defensemen. Jerrard, who played defense during a 10-year career in the IHL and AHL, handled the defensemen and the penalty kill in Texas.

“Those were my direct responsibilities” he said. “But at the end of the day, often when you look at a two-man show, we did a lot of overlapping and shared a lot of ideas.”

And now the two will coach together at the NHL level.

“I’m very excited,” Jerrard said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity. I have worked a long time in the organization.”