Fans may not be terribly familiar with Jim Midgley, who was named last week as part of the Rangers’ assistant coaching staff that will also include Benoit Allaire and newcomers Mike Kelly and Gord Murphy.
But Gerard Gallant, the head man, is enthused over the addition of the 43-year-old who has no experience on the North American professional level but has a rather eclectic hockey résumé and is currently serving as an assistant coach for Canada’s National Women’s Team in the World Championships being contested in Calgary.
“Jim is a guy I’ve known for 15 years. He’s a hard-working young guy, he’s been an assistant coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for a long time and he was head coach there at Halifax,” Gallant told The Post on Friday. “I’ve known him for a long time, I’ve seen him and have talked to him at coaching symposiums.
“I think if you look at my staffs, I’ve always brought in a younger guy. He’s not real young, he’s 43, but he’s one of those guys who has a good hockey mind. He’s well thought of by a lot of people. It’s a name that might catch people by surprise here, but he’s a hard worker and he’s a good communicator.
“He’s going to work with different guys. Our players are going to love him.”
Midgley’s résumé includes nine years coaching in the QMJHL, two years as director of hockey operations for a school in the Midwest Prep Hockey League, a stint as video coach for Canada’s 2016 World Junior Team, a year as an assistant coach in Germany and the 2020-21 season as an amateur scout for the Flyers.
“I haven’t had enough time to talk to him about his whole role,” Gallant said. “He might be the eye in the sky, he might be the fourth guy on the bench. We’ll decide that later on, but he’s a hard-working guy, he’s a loyal guy and I look forward to working with him.
“Good guy, good worker, very good person.”
While Murphy, who has been at AHL Hartford the previous two seasons and filled in with the Rangers during the 2020 bubble and then last year when the varsity staff was on the COVID protocol list, will be responsible for the defense, Gallant has not yet officially issued specific assignments such as who will oversee the power play.
“I take responsibility for all of it, to be perfectly honest, but over the next week or so we’re going to break it down,” Gallant said. “The coaches have an idea but we’re going to make the final decision over the next while.
“It’s not fair to those guys for me to come out today and say, here’s what we’re going to do. We’ve briefly talked about it. What we’re doing now is watching video, we’re watching the power play, watching the penalty kill. We’ll make all those decisions as a staff, but I will dedicate assignments to run the power play and to run the PK, but in the big picture we all do it together.”