Marco Sturm has seen quite a lot during his time in Los Angeles. Back in 2010, during his playing days, there was an on-again, off-again trade that brought him here from Boston; that seemed to drag on for weeks. Then, he was claimed off waivers by Washington just two months later. His career with the Kings lasted all of 17 games.
More recently, he arrived back in SoCal in late 2018 — almost out of the middle of nowhere — as an assistant coach. It caught many people by surprise, despite the success he was having with the German national team.
The dust started to settle in April 2019 when GM Rob Blake hired Todd McLellan to take over the Kings. Sturm stuck around and joined McLellan’s staff for the next three years. In July 2022 he moved into his current role as head coach of AHL Ontario. All the while, the coaching duo worked together closely, something that was profiled in this article just over a year ago:
After signing a multi-year extension to remain as the Reign bench boss this past summer, Sturm continues to find his sea legs in this second chapter of his hockey career.
Friday brought some more upheaval, though. McLellan was relieved of his coaching duties by Blake, and assistant coach Jim Hiller was elevated to interim coach for the balance of LA’s 2023-24 campaign. Ironically, Hiller initially joined the club after an opening was created on the Kings bench when Sturm took over the Reign.
Fresh on the heels of Friday’s big shakeup, we checked in with Sturm about 12 hours after it all went down.
Sturm on his time working with McLellan:
I’m not gonna lie, even for me, it was a little bit of an emotional day. Todd was like my dad. He took me under his wing right away and I had the best four years coaching in my young career. I’ve liked everything about it. Just to see him go, it was kind of hard today, I’m not going to lie. I understand the business, that’s just the way it is. The organization tried to do the best [thing for the club] too. So, unfortunately that happened today. It’s not a fun day for all of us.
On Hiller taking over:
Jimmy is a great guy. I just wish him all the best. It’s a pretty good hockey team, right? I hope he’s gonna get them back on track to be the team that we saw at the start of the season.
On if it’s any easier, for him personally, to communicate with Hiller considering they’re both former players:
I had a great… the way we communicated the last of couple years with Todd, it can’t get better than that, for me. With Jimmy, I don’t know if it’s [being a] former player or not, it’s just a little bit of [our] personalities too. I’ve seen former players who don’t communicate at all. It’s not going to help any of us, it’s not gonna help [just being former players]. I think Jim is a guy who is going to be different. Again, we have to give him a chance. He’s going to have a lot on his plate and a lot of pressure. Now the real pressure comes up. I just hope and wish him the best.
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