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Head Coaches of the Tampa Bay Lightning

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St Pete Times Forum At Sunset

The Lightning has played their home games at the St. Pete Times Forum since 1996.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are an American professional ice hockey team based in Tampa, Florida. They play in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Hockey League (NHL). Often referred to as the Bolts, as seen from their third jerseys, the team joined the NHL in 1992 as an expansion team, and won their first Stanley Cup in 2004. Having first played in the Expo Hall, and later in the ThunderDome (now known as Tropicana Field), the Lightning have played their home games at the St. Pete Times Forum, which was first named the Ice Palace, since 1996. The majority of the Lightning are owned by Oren Koules and Len Barrie, Brian Lawton is their general manager, and Vincent Lecavalier is the team captain.

There have been seven head coaches for the Lightning franchise. The team's first head coach was Terry Crisp, who coached for five seasons. John Tortorella, the only American to head coach the team, is the franchise's all-time leader for the most regular-season games coached (535), the most regular-season game wins (239), the most regular-season points (552), the most playoff games coached (45), and the most playoff-game wins (24). Tortorella is the only coach to have won the Prince of Wales Trophy, the Stanley Cup, and to have been awarded the Jack Adams Award with the Lightning, all of which happened in the 2003–04 season. Rick Paterson, Steve Ludzik and Rick Tocchet have spent their entire NHL head coaching careers with the Lightning. Tocchet has been the interim head coach of the Lightning since the firing of Barry Melrose.


# Number of coaches[a]
GC Games coached
W Wins = 2 points
L Losses = 0 points
T Ties = 1 point
OT Overtime/shootout losses = 1 point[b]
PTS Points
Win% Winning percentage
* Spent entire NHL head coaching career with the Lightning


Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2008–09 season.

# Name Term[c] Regular season Playoffs Achievements Reference
GC W L T/OT PTS Win% GC W L Win%
1 Terry Crisp 19921997 391 142 204 45 329 .421 6 2 4 .333
2 Rick Paterson* 1997 6 0 6 0 0 .000
3 Jacques Demers 19971999 147 34 96 17 85 .289
4 Steve Ludzik* 19992001 121 31 67 23 85 .351
5 John Tortorella 20012008 535 239 222 74 552 .516 45 24 21 .533 2003–04 Prince of Wales Trophy winner
6 Barry Melrose 2008 16 5 7 4 14 .438
7 Rick Tocchet* 2008–present 66 19 33 14 52 .394


  • a  A running total of the number of coaches of the Lightning. Thus, any coach who has two or more separate terms as head coach is only counted once.
  • b  Before the 2005–06 season, the NHL instituted a penalty shootout for regular season games that remained tied after a five-minute overtime period, which prevented ties.
  • c Each year is linked to an article about that particular NHL season.



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