Sutter leaves WHL team, could take over as Devils coach

RED DEER, Alberta -- Brent Sutter resigned as coach and general manager of the Western Hockey League's Red Deer Rebels -- a team he owns -- on Thursday amid speculation he will soon be named coach of the New Jersey Devils.

Sutter, who turned over coaching duties to older brother Brian, wouldn't comment about future plans. He will retain ownership of the Rebels, a team he bought in 1999.

New Jersey is the only NHL team still without a head coach for next season. The job has been vacant since GM Lou Lamoriello fired Claude Julien with three games left in the regular season and took over behind the bench.

The Devils called a news conference for 1 p.m. ET Friday to make what they called a "major announcement" but declined to provide details.

"I have no comment," Lamoriello said Thursday when asked if Sutter would be getting the Devils job.

Lamoriello has repeatedly said he will not coach New Jersey next season.

Sutter, 45, coached the Rebels to a Memorial Cup title in 2001. His stature as a top NHL coaching prospect was significantly enhanced when he guided Canada to world junior gold in 2005 and 2006.

On June 21, Hockey Canada named Sutter head coach of its team for the Canada-Russia junior showdown that'll run from Aug. 27 through Sept. 9.

Brian Sutter, 50, is the oldest of the six Sutter brothers who played in the NHL. He was the head coach in Boston, Calgary and Chicago before returning to Alberta to farm.