MONTREAL – Laval Rocket head coach Jean-François Houle addressed the media via Zoom on Wednesday after agreeing to terms on a three-year contract extension with the organization.

Here are some excerpts from his virtual press conference:

Please note that some answers have been modified for clarity and conciseness.

Jean-François Houle on his decision to return to the Rocket:

I like where the organization is heading. I think Laval is one of the best places to coach in the AHL and to play as well. Fans are at all the games and support us a lot. I also like the people I work with. That's why it was important for me to stay here.

Houle on his coaching staff:

We [the coaching staff] are positive people. We've emphasized developing young players, and I think we're going to continue to do that. It's good for the organization and I think we're on the right track by doing that. We've instilled a good culture, and I think it's a good thing for players to have consistency behind the bench.

Houle on what he is most proud of in the past couple of years:

Any player that goes up, I think it’s great. When we get the phone call, and we get to tell a player that he’s going to be playing his first game in the NHL, it’s a great feeling. Not only for the player, but for us coaches [too], because we have our hand in that and we’re there to support. It’s very rewarding as a coach when a guy gets called up.

Houle on the challenges he’ll be facing next season:

With a young group, there are lots of highs and lows. The AHL is a bit of a different league. When you lose your players, you lose your best players. So, it’s going to be about adapting to each individual we have, and trying to find, in the medium term, a way to win with young players. It’s doable, and it’s important.

Houle on his collaboration with Martin St-Louis:

We have some good conversations together; we’ve known each other for years. Most of our work together happens during development camp and training camp. We talk about all kinds of hockey-related things: systems, the way we manage players, or special teams. The most important thing for us is to have cohesion with the Montreal Canadiens so the players can be as successful as possible when they’re called up.

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