OHL coaching graduates Smith, McFarland land new NHL assignments


A pair of prominent OHL coaching graduates are on the move in the National Hockey League.

After four years as an assistant with the Toronto Maple Leafs, former Oshawa Generals head coach and three-time Memorial Cup champion D.J. Smith has been named head coach of the Ottawa Senators.

Slotting into his place in Toronto, former Generals fellow assistant coach Paul McFarland joins the Maple Leafs as an assistant following two years with the Florida Panthers.

A 42-year-old native of Windsor, Ont., Smith inks a three-year deal with the Senators becoming the 14th head coach in franchise history.

In three seasons as head coach in Oshawa, Smith compiled a record of 135-53-3-13 and was the OHL’s Coach of the Year in 2014, a year before he guided the franchise to an OHL Championship and a Memorial Cup crown.

Prior to his time in Oshawa, Smith spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Windsor Spitfires, helping guide the team to back-to-back Memorial Cup titles in 2009 and 2010.

Prior to his coaching career, Smith patrolled the blue line with his hometown Windsor Spitfires from 1994-97 before eight seasons spent between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche organizations that included 45 NHL contests.

McFarland joins Mike Babcock’s bench as an assistant in Toronto following two years under former Florida Panthers head coach Bob Boughner.

The 33-year-old product of Richmond Hill, Ont. spent three seasons as head coach of the Kingston Frontenacs from 2014-17, a span in which he also served as the head coach of Canada’s National Summer Under-18 Team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. McFarland served as an assistant alongside Smith in Oshawa from 2012-14.

A four-year OHL playing graduate, McFarland suited up for the Kitchener Rangers and Windsor Spitfires between 2002-06, winning an OHL Championship and Memorial Cup title with the Rangers in his rookie season. He also enjoyed a four-year tenure at Acadia University where he graduated as the captain of the men’s hockey team in 2010.

The Ontario Hockey League continues to be a leading producer of coaches and hockey operations staff for the next level. The 2019 OHL Coaches Conference is fast approaching. For full details on the annual development program, click here.

For more on Smith’s appointment, visit More information on McFarland’s new opportunity can be found at

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