Marco Sturm Named Head Coach of Ontario Reign

Good Morning, Insiders!

The Kings have announced a personnel decision today, impacting the coaching staffs at both the NHL and AHL levels. Marco Sturm, who has been an assistant coach with the Kings since the 2018-19 season, has been named as the Head Coach of the AHL’s Ontario Reign. The move opens up a spot on Todd McLellan’s NHL coaching staff, with that position to be hired during the summer to join McLellan and Trent Yawney behind the Kings bench.

Sturm joined the organization from the German National Team midway through the 2018-19 season, when the Kings made changes across the board in early-November. Sturm joined a revamped coaching staff to close out that season and remained on when the Kings hired Todd McLellan in April of 2019. Sturm has worked as an assistant coach on that staff through the 2021-22 season, with the move being made here in the offseason.

“As part of Todd’s staff for the past few seasons, Marco has played an important role helping to instill a successful system for our team and will continue the development of our players at that level,” Kings General Manager Rob Blake said. “This is a good opportunity for Marco and Todd was very supportive of this transition.”

System is an important word when it comes to Sturm, who preached “structure” when he was initially hired by the Kings back in 2018, detailed here by Jon Rosen. The Kings have completed an overhaul of the organization’s identity and structure over the past three seasons and we saw the fruits of the labor here in 2021-22. While Todd McLellan was driving the bus when it came to those areas, as the team’s head coach, Sturm had an impact in the process.

“I’m a structure guy, I love structure,” Sturm said in his inaugural media availability. “I think you’ve got to be structured to be successful, but on the other side, I was a forward too, so I would like to score goals. Like I said, there’s just a few points. You’ve just got to do things a little bit quicker, and that’s something my focus was on in the past year or so, and I think that’s something we all agreed as coaches already that was something we have to do here.”

Additionally, the remainder of the Ontario coaching staff will remain in place for the 2022-23 season. That includes assistant coaches Chris Hajt and Craig Johnson, as well as goaltending development coach Matt Millar and video coach Brad Schuler. Each of those four individuals took on expanded roles this past season due to the departure of John Wroblewski and impacts of COVID-19. Hajt also worked a few games with the Kings as an assistant due to COVID-related absences, with McLellan complementary of his impact at both levels.

Sturm is expected to meet with the media at 2 PM today via Zoom in what will be his first press conference as a member of the Ontario Reign coaching staff.

From the official release –

Sturm joins the Reign after spending the last four seasons (2018-22) as an assistant coach with the Kings. This past season, Sturm helped the Kings earn their first playoff berth since 2017-18 with a third-place finish in the Pacific Division standings. The team’s 99-point regular-season total (44-27-11) was the sixth-most points earned by a Kings team in franchise history.

Prior to joining the Kings coaching staff, the Dingolfing, Germany native served as head coach and general manager for the German National Team from 2015-18. During that span, Sturm led his native Germany to unprecedented success, highlighted by a silver-medal finish at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Germany’s path to the gold-medal game started in 2016, where Sturm and Germany won an Olympic Qualifying Tournament to earn a place in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Then, at the tournament itself, Sturm guided Germany to playoff round victories over Sweden (quarterfinal) and Canada (semifinal) before falling to the Olympic Athletes from Russia in overtime of the gold-medal game. His coaching resume with Germany also featured a Deutschland Cup title in 2015 and a pair of quarterfinal appearances at the 2016 and 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship.

A veteran of 938 NHL games, Sturm registered 487 points (242-245=487), a career plus-59 rating and 446 penalty minutes over 14 NHL seasons. Originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the first round (21st overall) of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, Sturm went on to play for six different teams, including the Kings, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Sharks, Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals.

Internationally, Sturm skated for Germany in three Olympic Winter Games (1998, 2002, 2010), one World Cup of Hockey (2004), four IIHF Men’s World Championships (1997, 2001, 2004, 2008), and two IIHF World Junior Championships (1995, 1996). In 44 appearances for the German National Team, he registered 21 points (13-8=21) and 46 penalty minutes.

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