True North Sports & Entertainment Limited is pleased to announce today Claude Noel has been named Head Coach of Winnipeg's newly acquired NHL franchise.
Noel, 55, becomes the first Head Coach since the franchise's relocation to Winnipeg and the sixth Head Coach in the history of the franchise dating back to the inception of the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999. Last year, the Kirkland, ON native coached the American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose to a record of 43-30-1-6. The Moose reached the North Division Final of the Calder Cup Playoffs where they were eliminated in seven games by the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Noel spent three seasons behind the bench with the Columbus Blue Jackets as an Assistant Coach before joining the Moose in 2010. In his third year with the Blue Jackets, Noel spent most of the season as an Assistant Coach before taking over from Ken Hitchcock as interim Head Coach on February 3, 2010. The Blue Jackets finished the 2009-10 season with a record of 10-8-4-2 under the guidance of Noel. During his three years with the club, the Blue Jackets compiled a record of 107-1-2-15-22 in 246 games.
Before his time with the Blue Jackets, Noel spent four seasons as Head Coach of the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals, affiliate of the Nashville Predators. During that time, he led the club to a 183-94-12-31 regular season record, three 100-point seasons and two West Division titles. During the 2003-04 season, the club compiled a 46-24-7-3 record and went 16-6 in the playoffs en route to capturing the organization's first-ever Calder Cup Championship. Noel was subsequently honoured with the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL Coach of the Year.
Noel made his coaching debut in the ECHL with the Roanoke Valley Rebels in 1990-91 and served as the Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations for the ECHL's Dayton Bombers from 1991-93. In 1993, he joined the Kalamazoo Wings (later the Michigan K-Wings), the International Hockey League affiliate of the Dallas Stars, as an Assistant Coach. He succeeded then coach, Ken Hitchcock, behind the bench during the 1995-96 season and served in that capacity through the 1997-98 campaign. From 1998-02, he was an Assistant Coach with the Milwaukee Admirals and in 2002-03 was named ECHL Coach of the Year with the Toledo Storm before returning to Milwaukee as Head Coach prior to the 2003-04 season.