The Chicago Blackhawks, like plenty of teams in the NHL, have a slew of former players who later became head coaches in the organization. There was Dirk Graham. There was Brian Sutter. There was Denis Savard. And there was also the former player who was replaced by Savard in Chicago’s coaching lineage and the subject of today’s Former Blackhawk of the Week: Trent Yawney.
Yawney, a native of Hudson Bay in Saskatchewan, was drafted by the Blackhawks in the third round (45h overall) of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. It took Yawney three more years to make his NHL debut, though, playing in 15 games with the 1987-88 Blackhawks while scoring two goals and adding eight assists. He spent three more seasons in Chicago before being traded to the Calgary Flames on December 16, 1991 for Stephane Matteau. Yawney remained in Calgary for five seasons, signed with the St. Louis Blues as a free agent for the 1996-97 season and then returned to Chicago for two more years before injuries ended his career. In all, he played 593 games — 280 in Chicago — with 27 goals and 102 assists.
The only highlights from Yawney’s career that can be tracked down online involve fights. There was this haymaker-heavy scrap between Yawney and future Blackhawk Mark Janssens in the early stages of the 1990-91 season:
And then there’s this 1988 tilt during a game between Team USA and Team Canada, when Yawney bloodied USA’s Dave Snuggerud.
That second name should sound familiar: Dave Snuggerud’s nephew, Luc is a prospect in the Blackhawks organization.
After this playing career ended, Yawney made an immediate transition to the coaching staff. He took over as an assistant with the Blackhawks for the 1999-00 season and then became the head coach of the AHL expansion franchise Norfolk Admirals, which served as the Blackhawks minor-league affiliate. Yawney thrived there, being named the “Minor Pro Coach of the Year” by The Hockey News in 2003-04. After five seasons there, Yawney was named the Blackhawks head coach on July 7, 2005, leading the franchise out of the lockout. Yawney’s tenure was brief, as he was fired on November 27, 2006. He coached just 103 games, posting a career record of 33-55-15.
The only notable moment during Yawney’s era was a decision he made that formed Chicago’s top defensive pairing for the next decade: Yawney was the coach who put Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook together as a defensive pairing.
Since leaving the Blackhawks organization for the third time, Yawney has bounced around between the AHL and NHL. After the Anaheim Ducks elected to not bring him back after the 2017-18 season, he signed on as an assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers for the upcoming 2018-19 season.