Bouchard to coach Canadiens’ affiliate
MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens named Joel Bouchard coach of the Laval Rocket, their American Hockey League affiliate, on Thursday.
The 44-year-old Bouchard succeeds Sylvain Lefebvre, who was fired at the end of the regular season after six years on the job. The also announced that Lefebvre’s assistants Donald Dufresne and Nick Carriere, wouldn’t be back.
Bouchard left as co-owner, president, general manager and coach of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to take the Rocket job that may one day lead to coaching or management with the National Hockey League club.
Bouchard said he’s not thinking that far ahead, for now.
“The most rewarding opportunity for me, the job I wanted, was to be coach of the Laval Rocket.”
“Following our evaluation, we concluded that Joel was ready to make the step up as a head coach at the professional level,” Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said in a statement. “His experience at the junior level in Quebec, as well as on the international stage with Hockey Canada, makes him an excellent coach who can develop great young players.
“He also has a solid knowledge base of junior players from across Canada. We are confident he will bring a dynamic approach to the Rocket organization.”