Most fans probably have no idea who Stephane Waite is expect he was a guy announced at the Blackhawks rally last week. Waite has been the team's goaltender coach for the last decade.
While he clearly isn't the most well know coach and he isn't see on the bench drawing up plays or wearing a suit being interviewed during games, a case could be made that he was the most important member of the staff. During his time in Chicago he helped two, young unproven questioned, goalies led the team to Stanley Cup championships.
Just think of all the goalies he has coached for the last decade. How many different egos and styles he has had to adjust to. His departure is one reason why some are worried about the return of Nikolai Khabibulin. After having Ray Emery be the good soldier the past few years, Bulin has the potential of rocking the boat.
Waite had a very close relationship with Corey Crawford. They basically came into the organization at the same time and just grew closer the last three seasons.
The Blackhawks didn't have much to say about the departure. It kind of flew under the radar with players being re-signed, the 4th of July holiday, and free agency. GM Stan Bowman did have this to say:
"We would like to thank Stephane for his 10 years of service with the Blackhawks organization and the quality of work he put in with many goaltenders over that period of time. We wish him and his family the best in his new position."
The team will probably elevate Andrew Allen to goaltender coach. Allen has been the developmental goaltending coach for the past two seasons. He was a college teammate of forward Patrick Sharp at Vermont.
It will be interesting to see if Waite can get Montreal's current goalie, Carey Price, to live up to expectations. There is a very good article by Kevin Woodley on NHL.com about just that. The article goes into detail how Waite isn't set in his ways and actually continues to evolve just like any good coach should.
Waite will be missed.