This is the 11th in a series of biographies on the head coaches of the 25 teams in the ECHL in 2005-06.
ECHL.com will post a different coach’s biography each weekday at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Derek Laxdal was named head coach and director of hockey operations for the Idaho Steelheads on August 4, 2005. Prior to his arrival in Boise, the 39-year-old Laxdal coached Wichita of the Central Hockey League for two and a half seasons after one and a half seasons as an assistant coach at Odessa.
In 2004-05, Wichita finished 40-17-3, the second-best record in its 13-year history, to reach the playoffs for the second straight year, losing in the conference finals. In his first full season in 2003-04, the Thunder was 35-24-5 to advance to the postseason for the first time in four years where they upset the top seed in the first round en route to the conference finals.
Laxdal began his coaching career in the ECHL as a player-assistant coach with Roanoke in 1994-95, registering 144 penalty minutes and 56 points (32g-24a) in 66 regular season games and 25 penalty minutes and six points (2g-4a) in eight playoff games. Selected in the eighth round (151st overall) by Toronto in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Laxdal played 17 professional seasons registering 614 points (299g-315a) and 1,301 penalty minutes in 823 regular season games and 37 points (20g-17a) and 152 penalty minutes in 56 playoff games.
He played parts of five seasons in the NHL with Toronto and the New York Islanders, accumulating 19 points (12g-7a) and 88 penalty minutes in 67 regular season NHL games and two points (0g-2a) and two penalty minutes in one Stanley Cup Playoff game. Laxdal and his wife, Hali, have two daughters, Jessica and Jamie.