COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have named Claude Noel (pronounced CLODE noh-EHL) assistant coach and extended the contracts of current assistants Gary Agnew, Gord Murphy and Clint Malarchuk, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.
The addition of Noel rounds out the Blue Jackets coaching staff for the upcoming 2007-08 season. Agnew has been a member of the organization since 2000, joining the Blue Jackets in 2006 after serving as the head coach of the club's AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, for six seasons. Murphy is entering his sixth year with the Blue Jackets, joining the club in 2002 after a playing career that spanned 14 NHL seasons. Malarchuk, who spent 10 seasons in the NHL as a goaltender with Quebec, Washington and Buffalo, was named goaltending coach in 2007 after spending three years in the Florida Panthers organization.
Noel, 51, has been the head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals, American Hockey League affiliate of the Nashville Predators, for the past four seasons. During that time, he led the club to a 183-94-11-32 regular season record, three 100-point seasons and two West Division titles. He also compiled a 33-21 record in the Calder Cup Playoffs, including two appearances in the Finals (2004, 2006). During the 2003-04 season, the club compiled a 46-24-7-3 record and went 16-6 in the playoffs en route to capturing the organization’s first Calder Cup championship. That year, Noel was named the AHL Coach of the Year.
"Claude Noel has accomplished a great deal in the American Hockey League and he will be a terrific addition to Ken Hitchcock, Gary Agnew, Gord Murphy and Clint Malarchuk on our coaching staff," said Howson. "Claude has a tremendous knowledge of the game of hockey and has done an excellent job developing young players throughout his career."
Noel made his coaching debut in the ECHL with the Roanoke Valley Rebels in 1990-91 and served as the head coach and director of hockey operations of the ECHL's Dayton Bombers from 1991-93. In 1993, he joined the Kalamazoo Wings (later Michigan K-Wings), International Hockey League affiliate of the Dallas Stars, as an assistant coach to current Blue Jackets Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. He succeeded Hitchcock behind the bench during the 1995-96 season and served in that capacity through the 1997-98 campaign. From 1998-02, he was an assistant coach with the Admirals and in 2002-03 was named ECHL Coach of the Year with the Toledo Storm before returning to Milwaukee as head coach prior to the 2003-04 season.
A native of Kirkland, Ontario, Noel appeared in seven games as a forward with the Washington Capitals during the 1979-80 season. He spent most of his playing career in the AHL and IHL and was named the latter's Most Valuable Player in 1982-83 after leading the Toledo Goaldiggers to the Turner Cup championship. He wrapped up his playing career with Milwaukee in 1987-88.
For information on Blue Jackets PSL and partial plans for the 2007-08 season, call 1-800-NHL-COLS. Information regarding the sale of individual game tickets will be available when the NHL announces the 2007-08 season schedule.