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Randy Cunneyworth named head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

  Randy Cunneyworth and Randy Ladouceur
MONTREAL (July 20, 2010) – Montreal Canadiens General Manager Pierre Gauthier announced today that the club has named Randy Cunneyworth head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. The Canadiens also announced the hiring of Randy Ladouceur as the Bulldogs’ assistant coach.

“We were looking for a strong leader to coach our farm team in Hamilton. In Randy Cunneyworth, we get an individual who knows the game inside out and who brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and as a coach, to the table. Together, Randy Cunneyworth and Randy Ladouceur combine for over 20 years of coaching experience at the professional level. We are extremely pleased that they have joined the Canadiens’ organization”, said Gauthier.

Randy Cunneyworth was an assistant coach with the National Hockey League’s Atlanta Thrashers over the past two seasons (2008-09 and 2009-10). He previously spent nine seasons with the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans, including seven seasons as head coach from 2000 to 2008. During his tenure with the Americans, he led his team to three 40-plus win seasons, two 100-plus point seasons and six playoff berths. He left Rochester as the longest serving coach in franchise history and ranks second on the club’s all-time wins list. During the 2004-05 season, Cunneyworth led the Americans to a 51-19-4-6 record (112 points), en route to the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the league’s top team in the regular season standings. That season, Cunneyworth would earn the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Trophy as the AHL’s Coach of the Year. He also reached the AHL’s Calder Cup Finals with Rochester as a player/assistant coach in 1999-00, earning the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award that same season (sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey). He played a total of 273 career AHL games with Rochester and Springfield, recording 270 points (166 goals, 104 assists) and helping Rochester win the Calder Cup in 1983.

A 49-year old native of Etobicoke, ON, Randy Cunneyworth played 15 seasons in the NHL between 1981 and 1999. An eighth round selection, 167th overall, by the Buffalo Sabres in 1990, the left winger played 866 career regular season games, suiting up with Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Hartford, Chicago and Ottawa. He registered 414 points (189 goals, 225 assists) and totaled 1,280 penalty minutes. He served as the Ottawa Senators captain for four seasons (1994 to 1998) and reached the Stanley Cup Finals with the Sabres in 1999.

“I’m very honoured – it’s a storied franchise and this organization is a highly respected one,” said Cunneyworth via conference call on Tuesday afternoon. “I was very happy that I was able to meet up with Pierre and Jacques and get a feel for what they’d be wanting from me and what I was going to be a part of.”

Cunneyworth, who played two seasons under Martin and Habs assistant coach Perry Pearn in Ottawa, knows what to expect in his new role in the organization.

“I think it’s very important that I emulate what Jacques is doing in a lot of cases. There will be some minor adjustments and changes, but for the most part, the base of the games will be similar to what the Montreal Canadiens need,” explained the Bulldogs’ new bench boss. “It serves no purpose if they’re bringing up a player to help them win the game and they don’t know the system of the Montreal Canadiens.

 “What excites me the most is being in Canada once again and we know how feverish the fans are and how excited they are to watch the team play hockey," said Cunneyworth. "I’ve heard nothing but great things of their year last year and they were a force to be reckoned with and it’s our job to continue the work they’ve already done. We have to pick it up a notch while building on the success and development they’ve had in the past few seasons.”

Randy Ladouceur, 50, served as an assistant coach for 10 seasons in the NHL, including eight with the Carolina Hurricanes (and Hartford Whalers), from 1996 to 2004, and two with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Last season, he was an assistant coach for the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs. He was also Head Coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals in 2005-06.  

A native of Brockville, ON, Ladouceur enjoyed an NHL career that spanned over 14 seasons, from 1982 to 1996, with Detroit, Hartford and Anaheim. The defenseman played 931 career NHL games, registering 156 points (30 goals, 126 assists) and 1,322 penalty minutes.

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