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Rob Zettler returns to Sharks bench as an assistant

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Zettler’s a former Sharks assistant and original member of the franchise.

Phoenix Coyotes v San Jose Sharks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A familiar face will fill a vacancy behind the San Jose Sharks bench. The team named former player and Assistant Coach Rob Zettler to the same position, filling the opening left in the wake of Bob Boughner’s hiring as Head Coach of the Florida Panthers.

"It is both an exciting challenge and a privilege to come back to an organization that I have so much passion for, and I am happy to get my family back home to San Jose," said Zettler. "I want to thank [Head Coach Pete Deboer], [General Manager Doug Wilson] and his staff for their time during the hiring process and for this opportunity. Ultimately, I want to win, and I look forward to working together and building on the success this staff has had."

Zettler was an assistant on Ron Wilson’s staff from 2002-08, and was last the Head Coach of the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay Lighting affiliate, from 2013-2016. He was also an original member of the Sharks, claimed by the nascent team in the 1991 NHL Dispersal Draft. The former defenseman played 196 games during parts of three seasons with the Sharks from 1991-94. He was often a presence in the San Jose press box at home games this past season, and stayed in the organization’s orbit after the Crunch replaced Zettler behind the bench.

"My relationship with Rob goes back to the Sharks first season in 1991, when he was one of our standout young players, and of course, as one of our assistant coaches during some very successful years for our franchise," Wilson said in a statement. "His familiarity with our organization, many of our players and our area cannot be overstated. He and his family have made their permanent home in San Jose and we're thrilled to welcome Rob back to the Sharks organization."

Zettler joins assistants Steve Spott, Johan Hedberg, and Video Coach Dan Darrow on DeBoer’s staff. As the Sharks searched to fill the opening behind the bench, Zettler checked all of the boxes, according to DeBoer.

"Rob has extensive experience working as a coach at the NHL level and developing prospects as a head coach in the AHL," DeBoer said in a statement. "As we researched candidates during this process, reputable people that I spoke with kept coming back to me with the same words: communicator, teacher, and professional. We think he will be a tremendous asset to our staff."