HAMILTON, ON – Canadiens Executive Vice President and GM Bob Gainey announced Thursday the appointment of Julien BriseBois as General Manager of the Hamilton Bulldogs. BriseBois, in his first act as General Manager, announced that the Canadiens have signed Don Lever and Ron Wilson to multi-year contracts as the Hamilton Bulldogs’ Head Coach and Assistant Coach respectively. As per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Lever, who became the sixth Head Coach in Hamilton Bulldogs history on July 28th, 2005, returns for his third season with the club. In his first two seasons in Hamilton, the 54-year-old native of South Porcupine, Ontario posted an overall regular-season record of 78-69-3-10 (.528). Last season, Lever led the Bulldogs to a 16-6 post-season record and a Calder Cup Championship, the first in the 11-year history of the franchise.
Prior to joining the Bulldogs, Lever was an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues for two seasons (2002-2004) and spent 12 seasons in the Buffalo Sabres organization. Lever began his coaching career as a Sabres assistant in 1987-1988. He then served as Head Coach of the Rochester Americans from 1990-1992, before returning to Buffalo as an assistant for the 1992-1993 campaign. In his first season with Rochester in 1990-1991, Lever won the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL Coach of the Year.
During his playing career, Lever also suited up for Rochester in 1985-1986 and 1986-1987, winning the Calder Cup in the role of player-coach in his final pro season. In 1,020 NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks, Atlanta Flames, Calgary Flames, Colorado Rockies, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres, Lever accumulated 313 goals, 367 assists, 680 points, and 593 penalty minutes.
Wilson, a 51-year-old native of Toronto, Ontario, returns for his fifth season as an assistant coach with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Wilson also served as an American Hockey League assistant coach for four seasons (1996-2000) with the Springfield Falcons, and two seasons (2000-2002) with the Saint John Flames, winning the Calder Cup in the first of his two season’s with the Flames. Wilson replaced Jim Playfair as Head Coach of Saint John during the 2002-2003 season.
Wilson also played 14 seasons in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues and Montreal Canadiens, registering 326 points (110 goals, 216 assists) in 832 games.
BriseBois, who turned 30 on January 24th, 2007, becomes the youngest current General Manager in the American Hockey League. The native of Greenfield Park, Quebec was named the Canadiens’ Vice President of Hockey Operations on July 24, 2006. Originally joining the Canadiens organization on September 1st, 2001 as Director of Legal Affairs, BriseBois was promoted to Director of Hockey Operations and Legal Affairs in July 2003. His duties include all aspects of contract preparation and negotiation, salary arbitration, player transactions, the interpretation of the National Hockey League’s Collective Bargaining Agreement and League Rules and assessing their impact on day-to-day operations.
Prior to joining the Canadiens organization, BriseBois was practicing at the law firm Heenan-Blaikie, where he represented several National Hockey League and Major League Baseball clubs in arbitration cases, and acted as an advisor in contract negotiations. He also participated in the production of legal documents for the QMJHL and in motor sports.
BriseBois is a graduate of the Université de Montreal Faculty of Law and earned a Masters’ Degree in Business Administration at the John Molson School of Business. He is also a member of the Quebec Bar, the American Bar Association and the Sports Lawyers Association.