Wild call media conference, reportedly will name Mike Yeo head coach
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The Minnesota Wild have their coach -- and it appears the selection may be an upset.
The team called an 11 a.m. media conference on Friday to announce the decision, and a source told KSTP-TV's Chris Long the Wild's man is Mike Yeo, the 37-year-old Ontario native who led the Houston Aeros to the American Hockey League finals this past season.
Yeo was considered a darkhorse candidate in part because he was similar in age and experience to Todd Richards, who was fired in April after two seasons and a 77-71-16 record.
But Yeo reportedly was so impressive in a second interview earlier this week the Wild held off on offering the job to former Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish. Two other men with NHL head-coaching experience, Ken Hitchcock and Michael Thierren, also interviewed for the job.
Instead, general manager Chuck Fletcher once again went with a first-time NHL coach after waiting out the Aeros' playoff run to give Yeo his shot at the job.
Yeo played professionally for 10 seasons, including five with the Aeros when they were in the International Hockey League. He never got higher than the AHL, seeing action in 19 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before suffering a career-ending injury in 1999-2000.
The next season, Yeo began a six-year run as an assistant with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, then was hired as an assistant by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006 and won a Stanley Cup championship in 2009.
Yeo replaced Kevin Constantine as head coach of the Houston Aeros on June 16, 2010 -- one year to the day before the Wild reportedly finalized the deal -- and led them to a Western Conference championship in his first season.
He and his wife, Tanya, have two children.