Winnipeg Has The Man Who Was There All Along

Winnipeg Has The Man Who Was There All Along

Once again the National Hockey League has poached the American Hockey League and brought in another coach. On Friday, Claude Noel will be named as the new head coach of the new Winnipeg NHL franchise.

Noel was one of the four interviewed coaches by new general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. Noel is well known in the city as he was coach of the Manitoba Moose in their last year, which was last season, and played in the same MTS Centre which will be used by the new NHL team. Previously he was interim head coach for 24 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2009-10 season after taking over for a fired Ken Hitchcock.

He becomes the third AHL coach to take over the reigns of an NHL team this season. The Dallas Stars named Glen Gulutzan and the Minnesota Wild named Mike Yeo as head coaches this past week.

It was an easy hire for the Winnipeg brass. Noel is a safe bet as the city and its’ hockey fans know and like him. But it will be different coaching the city’s NHL team. He will now have to deal with NHL egos and the NHL media. He had it easy with the media outlets in Winnipeg. Let’s see how he handles the national media. The entire NHL, its’ media and its’ fan will be watching Winnipeg. Noel will be front and centre and the success and failure of this franchise will be scrutinized by everyone, especially those in Atlanta, Phoenix and Quebec City. I am sure even Gary Bettman will be watching closely waiting to say either ‘I told you another team in Canada wouldn’t work’ or ‘I brought the team back’.

History has told us that normally the first head coach of an expansion team doesn’t last very long. Let’s hope for Noel’s sake he is the norm.

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Shahab Khan the Schoolboy