LAVAL – Laval Rocket general manager John Sedgwick announced on Wednesday that the team has agreed to terms on a multi-year contract extension with head coach Jean-François Houle. Assistant coach Martin Laperrière, goaltending coach Marco Marciano and video coach Charles Juneau have also agreed to multi-year extensions.

“Jean-François Houle has done an excellent job as the head coach of the Laval Rocket since being hired in 2021. He and his staff have demonstrated the ability to balance team performance with player development, establishing both a competitive culture and an ideal environment for the growth and maturation of our young players,” said Sedgwick. “His teams have made two playoff appearances in three years, including a Calder Cup semifinal appearance in 2021-22, and Jean-François and his staff have done a commendable job preparing numerous players for the jump to the National Hockey League over that time. His strong values, attention to detail and dedication to his craft, combined with over 20 years of coaching experience in four different leagues, make Houle the ideal fit for the Laval Rocket and Montreal Canadiens. The AHL represents a critical step in the development of many future NHL players, and we are confident that Jean-François is the right person to continue to oversee that process,” added the Rocket GM.

Houle, 49, spent the last three seasons (2021-22 to 2023-24) as head coach of the Rocket, during which the team held a 105-86-25 record. The seasoned coach led his team to the Calder Cup semifinals in 2021-22, when the Rocket made their first playoff appearance.

Houle made the jump to the professional ranks as head coach of the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors during the 2014-15 season, before the franchise moved from the ECHL to the AHL. In total, he spent seven seasons with the Edmonton Oilers organization (ECHL and AHL).

Houle served as head coach in the QMJHL for five seasons with the Lewiston MAINEiacs (2009-10 and 2010-11) and the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (2011-12 to 2013-14).

His coaching career began in 2003 when he returned to his alma mater, Clarkson University (NCAA), as an assistant coach. He spent six seasons in that capacity with the Golden Knights (2003-04 to 2009-10).

Before turning to coaching, Houle enjoyed a six-year professional career as a player. The native of Charlesbourg, QC was selected by Montreal in the fourth round (99th overall) of the 1993 NHL Draft. He played 72 AHL games for the Fredericton Canadiens and Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, amassing eight goals and 22 assists. He also had stints with the ECHL’s Tallahassee Tiger Sharks and New Orleans Brass. In 216 regular season games in the ECHL, he recorded 202 points, including 76 goals. Before making his professional debut, he enjoyed a four-year collegiate career at Clarkson as a left winger. He was named captain during his final season with the Golden Knights. Houle is also a former Lac St. Louis Lion in the Quebec M18 AAA league (1990-91 to 1991-92).