MINNEAPOLIS -- Claude Noel took the coaching reins of Winnipeg's new NHL team this morning, confirmed in the job by GM Kevin Cheveldayoff at a press conference at the team's downtown draft hotel.
Noel, the Manitoba Moose coach season last season in the AHL, comes back to the NHL. Prior to his Moose stint, the 55-year-old from Kirkland Lake, Ont., was the assistant coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets for three seasons and finished up that third season as the team's interim coach when it fired Ken Hitchcock.
"I want to thank Mark Chipman, David Thomson, Zinger (assistant GM Craig Heisinger) and Kevin (Cheveldayoff) for having the faith and trust in me to lead this team," Noel told the press conference. "I see some good things ahead for our hockey club."
Winnipeg decided on Noel's selection late Wednesday night after interviewing four candidates in total.
Cheveldayoff said this morning that his search was thorough because this was a critical hire, to find exactly the right coach.
"It's exciting to be standing here we have found that guy," Cheveldayoff said. "He's a tremendous leader, a person who spends a lot of time getting to know each individual player.
"We talked to many players who played for him and they all said the dressing room was a fun place to be. We know he's fair and that he kept everybody accountable."
Watch a replay of True North's press conference to announce Claude Noel as head coach: