Wild mainstay Darby Hendrickson relieved of assistant coaching duties

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The Wild made a change to its coaching staff on Friday, letting go of longtime assistant coach Darby Hendrickson, whose time with the franchise goes back to his playing career.

Hendrickson, who played high school hockey for Richfield, has been part of the Wild as a player and coach for almost the team’s entire existence, joining the team for its inaugural season as part of the expansion draft. Hendrickson even scored the team’s first goal at Xcel Energy Center on Oct. 11, 2000, against the Philadelphia Flyers.

He played three-plus seasons for the Wild and was a major part of the team’s surprise run to the Western Conference Final in 2003, scoring two goals among five points in 17 games, including the game-winner in Game 7 of the conference semifinals at Vancouver.

Hendrickson became an assistant coach for the Wild in 2011 and served on the staffs of five head coaches, the last being John Hynes, who replaced Dean Evason on Nov. 28.

A spokesperson for the club referred to the move as “just a change to our coaching staff.” Hynes didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

“I would like to thank Darby for all his hard work and commitment to the Minnesota Wild during his long tenure with our organization,” general manager Bill Guerin said in a statement. “He has done a tremendous amount of good things for our team and the State of Hockey as a player and a coach. I wish Darby and his family all the best in the future.”

Hendrickson was part of the Wild’s two deepest playoff runs, as a player in 2003 and assistant coach when the team advanced to the conference semifinals in 2014 and 2015. He was Minnesota’s 1991 Mr. Hockey and a member of the 1994 U.S. Olympic team. In 182 games with the Wild, he had 29 goals among 60 points.

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