MONTREAL - Montreal Canadiens general manager, Marc Bergevin, announced on Thursday the appointment of Joël Bouchard as head coach of the Laval Rocket. The Club also announced that Larry Carrière will now act as director of player personnel for the AHL club, and will remain as senior advisor, hockey operations for the Canadiens.
Video: A look at Joël Bouchard's career
"The Montreal Canadiens organization welcomes Joël Bouchard as head coach of the Laval Rocket, the Club's development team in the AHL. Following our evaluation, we concluded that Joël was ready to make the step up as a head coach at the professional level. 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. Having done some outstanding work with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada for the past several years as a coach and a general manager, Joël has an excellent reputation and very good knowledge of the North Shore market," said Bergevin.
"The Club has also decided not to name an official general manager for the Rocket organization. However, I must underline that we are extremely satisfied with the work of Larry Carrière, who will now act as director of player personnel of the team," added Bergevin.
Joël Bouchard, 44, has been the Armada's general manager in the QMJHL for the past seven seasons, adding the head coaching duties to his resume prior to the 2014-15 season. In 244 games behind the Armada bench, he posted a record of 145 wins and 99 losses (regulation and overtime/shootout). Bouchard was an assistant coach alongside Dominique Ducharme from 2008 to 2011 with the Montreal Junior, before the franchise relocated to Blainville-Boisbriand in 2011 to be known as the Armada. Selected by Hockey Canada as general manager of the Canadian National Junior Team, he assembled a roster that claimed a silver medal in 2017 and a gold medal in 2018 at the World Junior Championship.
Video: Joël Bouchard's message to Habs fans
With a record of 50-11-4-3 in 2017-18, the Armada was third in the CHL rankings behind only the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (55-7-3-3) and the Moose Jaw Warriors (52-15-2-3). After winning the Jean-Rougeau Trophy as the QMJHL's regular season champions, the Armada reached the President Cup Finals before falling to the Acadie-Bathurst Titans in six hard-fought games.
Before embracing a hockey management and coaching career, Joël Bouchard enjoyed a 13-year career as an NHL defenseman. During that span, he played 364 games after being selected 129th overall by the Calgary Flames in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. As a member of the Flames, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, Phoenix Coyotes, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders, he recorded 75 points, including 22 goals. He also played 293 games in the AHL, recording 144 points, including 20 games in 2007-08 with the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Canadiens' AHL affiliate. As a player on the international stage, he was a gold medalist with Canada at the 1997 World Championship that was played in Finland.
Prior to turning pro towards the end of the 1993-94 season, Bouchard played at the Midget AAA level with the Montreal Bourassa Canadiens, before spending four full seasons with the Longueuil/Verdun Collège-Français in the QMJHL (1991-94). At the World Junior Championship, he won gold twice for Canada, in 1993 (Sweden) and 1994 (Czech Republic).