The Vancouver Canucks formally announced today what has been no secret since last Friday: John Tortorella is their new head coach.

Tortorella, who turned 55 Monday, becomes the 17th head coach in Canucks history. He succeeds Alain Vigneault.

In a statement released prior to a scheduled 1 p.m. news conference, Canuck GM Mike Gillis said the team was “proud to introduce” Tortorella as the new bench boss, ending an exhaustive search that began with the May 22 firing of Vigneault.

“John has coached championship teams and is passionate about winning,” Gillis said in the statement. “He has a proven ability to bring the best out of his players and we believe he has all of the qualities to bring our team success.”

Tortorella, speaking later on a Canucks-produced video, was obviously pleased to be back behind a bench, less a month after he was dismissed by the New York Rangers.

“Coaches want to coach,” Tortorella said. “We all want to be in it. I wasn't sure where it was going to be. When I talked to Mike in really an extensive interview process, he is a man who thinks out of the box and has a great vision of where he wants to go. I couldn't be more excited. So I'm happy this day has come and then to move by this and meet the players and really get to work.”

Asked about integrating younger players into the lineup, Tortorella replied: “That's one of things I'm very proud of that happened in New York. I think we changed the culture there a little bit. We moved to youth and we moved to our farm team, developing people there and bringing kids in. I think it's a must with the salary-cap world. You need to build within and I am anxious for that to happen here.”

He was also asked about his past dealings with the media and the testy relationship he had with some reporters. He vowed to change his approach.

“It's a huge part of my job here, I know that,” said Tortorella. “Mike and I have talked extensively on that. I have certainly made my own bed in the situations I put myself and other people in and I'm going to cultivate a relationship here with the media. I think that's a huge part of any job in the National Hockey League but coming to a market like Vancouver, and the province of B.C., which is basically who you are serving, I want this to work. I do come with some baggage. I readily admit that and I'm not going to hide from that. I've made some mistakes along the way but I am compelled to make this work and cultivate that type of relationship where we're working together.”

Gillis was then asked what made Tortorella the winning candidate.

“Well, lots of things,” Gillis responded. “First of all, his demeanour and how he approaches the game and the expectations that he has as a head coach. I think coming to our organization at this particular point in time, it was the voice that I wanted to hear. He's won at every level, which is very important, I think, for our players here. I think for our group right now he is the perfect choice.”