When Pascal Vincent got a call asking if he'd like to interview with the Winnipeg Jets for an assistant coaching vacancy, the 39-year-old was more than surprised.
He didn't know new coach Claude Noel and he didn't know General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. In fact, Vincent's only connection to the Winnipeg organization was that he coached current Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec for two years in the QMHL.
"In this business, like in every business I guess, it's people you know," Vincent said in a conference call Friday afternoon. "I know a lot of people in the NHL but I didn't know Claude, didn't know Mr. Cheveldayoff, didn't know anyone, actually. So that's why I was quite surprised. But it's a small world at the same time and those people were looking for a young, dynamic coach."
The Jets will get that, as they have inked Vincent to a two-year contract as assistant coach.
Vincent, who will primarily focus on coaching the forwards and the power play, comes from a long, successful career in the QMHL.
"It's a privilege, it's an honor," Vincent said of his new position. "Obviously, it's a dream coming true for a coach or a player when you reach the best League in the world, it's always very special."
Vincent has been a head coach in the QMJHL for the past 12 seasons with the Montreal Juniors and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. He was also GM of both teams.
Last season, Vincent coached the Montreal Juniors to the second best record in the QMJHL at 46-12-10. Vincent has an all-time QMJHL head coaching record of 429-313-87 along with nine playoff series wins. He was the recipient of the Ron Lapointe Trophy as the top coach in the QMJHL following the 2007-08 season.
Vincent admitted that it will be a change of pace transitioning from head man to assistant coach, but he's not worried about it. Vincent has long believed that you have to do what's best for your team to win. And that means do anything -- literally, anything.
"If I have to swipe the floors to make the team win, I'll do it," Vincent said. "At the end of the season you just want to get better, as a person, as a coach. You want to get to know your players and you want to do your job properly. I'm going there with a lot of fire in my heart and I'm going there to support Claude Noel and make sure I do my very best as an assistant coach. Whatever it takes, I'm all for it."