This is the 11th in a series of biographies on the head coaches of the 25 teams in the ECHL in 2006-07.
ECHL.com will post a different coach’s biography each day.
Derek Laxdal is in his second season with the Idaho Steelheads having been named head coach and director of hockey operations on August 4, 2005.
In his first season in 2005-06, the Steelheads were 43-21-8 and set team records for wins and points (94). Idaho advanced to the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the third consecutive season, losing in seven games to Las Vegas.
He has coached his teams to 40 wins each of the past two seasons and is 118-62-16 in his three full seasons as a head coach and 130-79-16 overall behind the bench.
The 40-year-old Laxdal coached Wichita in the Central Hockey League for two and a half seasons from 2003-05 after being an assistant coach for Odessa of the CHL for two and a half seasons from 2001-03. Wichita was 40-17-3, the second-best record in 13 seasons, and reached the playoffs for the second straight year in 2004-05, losing in the conference finals. In Laxdal’s first full season in 2003-04, Wichita was 35-24-5 and reached the postseason for the first time in four years where it upset the top seed in the first round and advanced to the conference finals.
Laxdal began his coaching career in the ECHL as a player-assistant coach for Roanoke in 1994-95 where he had 56 points (32g-24a) in 66 regular season games 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. He helped Portland of the Western Hockey League win the Memorial Cup championship in 1982-83 and in 1989-90 he helped Springfield of the American Hockey League capture the Calder Cup championship.
Laxdal and his wife, Hali, have two daughters, Jessica and Jamie.