On Thursday the Dallas Stars announced that a familiar face would find himself behind the bench of the team’s American Hockey League affiliate Texas Stars for the 2021-22 season. Former Stars defenceman Maxime Fortunus will join head coach Neil Graham and serve Texas as an assistant coach next season.
The 37-year-old recently announced his retirement from professional hockey following an 18-year career within the NHL, AHL, ECHL and Germany’s DEL. After putting up 40 goals and 148 points in 285 career games with the QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar, the Quebec product broke into the AHL with the Houston Aeros before joining the Manitoba Moose for the 2005-06 season.
Fortunus spent four seasons in Manitoba, holding down the fort on the blueline while serving as an alternate captain. While playing for the Moose, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound defenceman put up 20 goals, 73 points and 146 penalty minutes in 271 regular season games. He added another four goals, 16 points and 26 penalty minutes in 54 postseason contests with Manitoba.
The mobile rearguard then signed with the Dallas Stars in hopes of securing a place within the Stars’ blueline. He spent the majority of his time with the Texas Stars, but did make nine appearances for Dallas over his six-year tenure. Fortunus served as the captain in Texas for three seasons before joining the Iowa Wild in 2015-16 and 2016-17 as the team’s captain.
Following one season with the Springfield Thunderbirds, Fortunus’ time in the AHL came to an end as he packed his bags and headed for Germany. He spent three years with the Fischtown Pinguins of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, where he put up eight goals and 53 points over 145 total games.
“We are very pleased to bring Max back to the Texas Stars as an assistant coach,” said Stars GM Scott White in a team-issued media release. “A consummate professional, Max brings with him immeasurable experience following a long and storied career. His knowledge of and familiarity with the organization makes him the perfect addition our staff and we are confident he will excel in his new role alongside Neil and Travis.”
Over his career, Fortunus suited up in 882 AHL regular season games, collecting 76 goals and 286 points in the process. He added another six goals and 31 points in 118 postseason games over 10 different playoff runs. He won the 2014 Calder Cup with Texas, while falling short in both 2009 (Manitoba) and 2010 (Texas).
“Max’s experience and knowledge of the game will make him a valuable asset both for our staff behind the bench and for our players on the ice,” coach Graham added. “His approach to the game and incredible leadership skills allowed him to enjoy a great career as a player and we’re excited for him to join our staff as he makes the jump into coaching.”