Canucks fire head coach Alain Vigneault

The Vancouver Canucks have fired head coach Alain Vigneault, as well as his assistants Rick Bowness and Newell Brown, after seven seasons behind the bench of the NHL team.

The team announced the firing, nearly two hours after multiple social media reports indicated the axe had fallen on the trio.

“We have made the very difficult decision to relieve Alain Vigneault, Rick Bowness and Newell Brown of their coaching duties today,” Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement issued by the team. “Alain, Rick and Newell worked tirelessly to lead this team to great on-ice success. I am personally grateful to each of them and their families for their commitment to the Canucks and the city of Vancouver and wish them continued success in future.”

The most successful coach in franchise history, Vigneault won six Northwest Division titles, two Presidents Trophies, reached one Stanley Cup final and was named NHL coach of the year in 2007.

Thus ends the speculation that began almost the moment the Canucks were swept May 7 by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of playoffs.

Vigneault’s departure was widely expected after a second straight quick exit from the Stanley Cup tournament. In Vigneault’s last 11 playoff games, the team went 1-10.