Constantine named new head coach in Houston

Kevin Constantine, a former runner-up for the National Hockey League’s Coach of the Year honor, has been named the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros, the team announced Tuesday.

Constantine spent the last four seasons as head coach of the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips. The announcement was made by Minnesota Wild president/general manager Doug Risebrough. The Aeros are the Wild’s primary developmental affiliate.

“A development team requires a leader who will teach the players the game, while at the same time instilling the discipline, accountability and hard work required to play in the NHL for this organization,” Aeros general manager Tom Lynn said. “Kevin has a demonstrated record of all of these elements. In addition, he has had success coaching at all levels of hockey, and in particular in developing younger players.”

Constantine, 48, has been behind the bench as a head coach for more than 1,000 combined games, presiding over teams in the United States Hockey League (USHL), International Hockey League (IHL), National Hockey League (NHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL).

The native of International Falls, Minn., accrued a 159-153-66 mark in seven National Hockey League seasons with San Jose, Pittsburgh and New Jersey. Two seasons after helping Kansas City claim the International Hockey League’s Turner Cup championship in 1991-92, Constantine took over a Sharks team that won just 11 games the previous season. Constantine led San Jose to a 33-35-16 record in 1993-94 and a first-round upset of Detroit in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

He was the runner-up to current Minnesota Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire for the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s top coach, after the Sharks improved a league-record 58 points. Constantine is the only NHL coach to ever lead a pair of eight seeds over a No. 1 seed, having also led Pittsburgh over New Jersey in 1998-99.