Noel to be introduced as head coach today

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Manitoba Moose coach Claude Noel will be confirmed this morning as the first coach of Winnipeg's new NHL franchise.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/06/2011 (4115 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MINNEAPOLIS — Manitoba Moose coach Claude Noel will be confirmed this morning as the first coach of Winnipeg’s new NHL franchise.

Noel emerged the choice of a coaching search that is believed to have included three other candidates. Mike Haviland, assistant coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, was informed by True North early Thursday that he wouldn’t be getting the job.

NHL veteran Craig MacTavish and Atlanta Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay were informed earlier they were no longer in the running.

CP Claude Noel

True North, under some urging from the Vancouver Canucks, arrived at its decision late Wednesday night and Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will introduce the 55-year-old native of Kirkland Lake, Ont., today in a conference room at the team’s draft headquarters hotel here.

Prior to taking the reins of the AHL Moose last summer, Noel was an assistant coach for three seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets. In the final part of his third season, he was interim head coach when the Jackets fired Ken Hitchcock.

He was not retained by the Blue Jackets during 2010’s off-season coaching search when Columbus opted for former Moose coach Scott Arniel.

Prior to his time in Columbus, Noel was the head coach of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals for four seasons as the affiliate club of the NHL’s Nashville Predators.

He won a Calder Cup with the Admirals in 2004 and got to the championship series in 2006.

True North wouldn’t comment on any of the coaching reports Thursday. Assistant GM Craig Heisinger simply said the search process was “ongoing.”

But the Vancouver Canucks, who granted Winnipeg permission to talk to Noel in the first place because as Moose coach he was officially employed by the Canucks, wished Noel well on Thursday.

“This organization has had a lot of quality people pass through on their way to bigger things,” Vancouver assistant GM Laurence Gilman told the Vancouver Sun.

“We’re proud of that. Claude is an exceptionally good coach and we were extremely lucky to have a guy like that come along.

“We provided a good landing spot for him and he benefited from it, and we benefited from having him. But we did know this was a possibility, so naturally we’ve been preparing for it.”

The Canucks not only have to find another AHL coach, they have to find another AHL affiliate.

“There are individuals we have talked about and we’ll be contacting them,” Gilman said. “But we’re going to look long and hard because this is an incredibly important position for our organization. That said, it’s hard to hire a guy before you know where he’s going to be coaching.”

There was also a strong vote of confidence for Winnipeg’s pick from an Eastern Conference rival.

Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero told the Columbus Dispatch that Noel would have been on his short list to replace Dan Bylsma had Bylsma not worked out as Pittsburgh’s interim coach in 2009.

“Claude is smart, competitive and communicates well with players,” Shero told the newspaper. “He’s also very good at changing things tactically during a game.”

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

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