Wild, coach Mike Yeo agree to multiyear contract extension
MAY 31, 2014 6:05p ET
Mike Yeo went to his home on a lake in Ontario when the Minnesota Wild's season ended abruptly with an unfortunate bounce in overtime. Yeo was going to do a little fishing to take his mind off the season that just transpired and the sad ending.
He'll have a lot to look forward to now.
Minnesota announced Yeo has agreed to terms on a multiyear contract extension. Yeo, who took the Wild to the second round of the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history, is 104-82-26 and has had two playoff appearances in his three seasons as Minnesota's coach.
"I am very excited to continue to coach the Minnesota Wild and pursue a Stanley Cup for the state of hockey," Yeo said in a release. "Our fan support has been amazing and it went to a new level during the playoffs this season. We are all motivated to reward them."
Yeo became the third coach in Wild history when he was hired in 2011 after leading the team's minor-league affiliate, then located in Houston. Under Yeo's guidance, the team has taken steps, including snapping a four-year postseason drought in 2013 and then advancing to the second round this past season when Minnesota lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Yeo's tenure hasn't always been smooth, but he helped the team rebound from injuries and falling to 10th place in the Western Conference at the beginning of the 2014 calendar year to earn the conference's top wild card spot. After losing six straight game to close out 2013, Minnesota went 12-2-1 in the next 15 games while dealing with injuries to forwards Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, goaltender Josh Harding and defenseman Jared Spurgeon.
The Wild then rallied from 2-0 deficits in each of its two playoff series, beating the Colorado Avalance in Round 1 by winning Games 6 and 7.
"I think he did a great job," defenseman Ryan Suter said after Game 6 against Chicago. "There were times where the wheels could have come off and he kept it together. He was always level-headed. I think he did a great job and I think we're going to have a bright future with him."
Minnesota is a young team and Yeo, 40, is the NHL's youngest coach. He has helped to implement a defensive structure which allowed the Wild to overcome a goaltender rotation necessitated by injury; five different netminders won games for the team this season.
The Wild's 98 points in 2013-14 were the 11th most in the NHL and Minnesota is 10th in the league in wins the past two seasons.
"Mike has done a very good job the last three seasons as our head coach and we look forward to his leadership going forward," general manager Chuck Fletcher said in the release.
After the season ended, Yeo had a tough time analyzing the job he'd done and needed more time for evaluation. A contract extension was expected, but Yeo's contract was set to expire on June 30.
"It's hard to say, to be honest with you, but I do feel that I've improved," Yeo said after the season. "I do feel that I've grown as a coach. And I do know a big part of that is a desire and a hunger to get better as a coach. So I know that I have to get better."
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