The Winnipeg Jets have inked head coach Claude Noel to a contract extension, giving the team’s bench boss a little more security heading into next season.
GM Kevin Cheveldayoff announced the deal this morning, locking up the 57-year-old Noel through to the end of the 2014-15 season.
"I’m extremely happy to get extended and continue on with the process we started here," said Noel via conference call Monday afternoon. "Our goal remains the same: we’re in a situation where we understand the need to get into the playoffs. We’re looking to take a step further in that direction and hopefully get there this upcoming season.
"I’m glad the organization has the confidence in not only myself but also the coaching staff in moving this team forward."
Noel will be entering his third season as the Jets’ coach with a 61-56-13 record. Winnipeg finished 11th in the Eastern Conference in Year 1 under Noel and ninth last season.
"This group of coaches worked extremely hard under some difficult circumstances at different points in time," said Cheveldayoff. "We do have areas of this team that we’re hoping to grow and improve upon and this group (of coaches) deserves the opportunity to continue the job they’ve been doing."
Cheveldayoff did indicate the club will also offer extensions to assistant coaches Charlie Huddy, Perry Pearn and Pascal Vincent.
Noel was hired two years ago, after one season with the Manitoba Moose. He has previous NHL experience with the Columbus Blue Jackets and as a head coach with the Milwaukee Admirals, including a Calder Cup championship in 2003-04, the Dayton Bombers, Kalamazoo Wings and Toledo Storm.
Asked about the term of the deal, Cheveldayoff added: "The term wasn’t something we focused on too dramatically. When I had my conversations with Claude it was about continuing the process moving forward.
"I don’t know if there’s a magical term… one year, two years, five years… you see different things from different situations and this is the right fit for us."