TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have hired Benoit Groulx to become the head coach of its American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, Crunch General Manager Julien BriseBois announced today.
Groulx, 48, was the head coach and general manager for the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League during the 2015-16 season, guiding his team to a record of 46-19-2-1. The Olympiques were defeated in the 2016 QMJHL Quarter-Final by the Moncton Wildcats four games to two.
Groulx has worked 13 total seasons as a head coach in the QMJHL with the Hull/Gatineau Olympiques, posting a career record of 460-293-18-59. He led his teams to league championships in 2003, 2004 and 2008, earning QMJHL Coach of the Year honors for the 2003-04 season while coaching the Olympiques.
The Hull, Quebec native also served on the coaching staffs for Team Canada at the 2004 U18 World Championships as well as the 2014 and 2015 IIHF World Junior Championships. Groulx was an assistant coach for the Gold Medal winning Team Canada at the U18 World Championships in 2004. Groulx was also an assistant coach for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in 2014 as Canada was defeated in the Bronze Medal game by Russia. The following year, Groulx was the head coach for Team Canada, winning the Gold Medal and earning a perfect 7-0 record during the tournament.
“Benoit Groulx has a long track record as a winning head coach. Throughout his career, he has consistently gotten the most out of his players and his teams,” BriseBois said upon making the announcement. “We are very excited to be adding Benoit to our organization. Our players in Syracuse will benefit from his tremendous leadership and his relentless pursuit of excellence. I personally look forward to working with him on making the Syracuse Crunch organization all that it can be for our players and our fans.
"The head coach position for our American Hockey League affiliate is one of critical importance within the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. On a day-to-day basis, he is responsible for overseeing the pipeline of future Lightning players. In hiring Benoit Groulx, we feel we have the absolute best person for the job.”
Groulx also has two years of head coaching experience in the American Hockey League with the Rochester Americans (2008-09, 2009-10), compiling a record of 73-76-11 while leading the Americans to one Calder Cup playoffs appearance.
Groulx becomes the ninth head coach in Syracuse Crunch history, replacing Rob Zettler, who had been the team's head coach for the past three and one-half seasons. Assistant coach Trent Cull and goaltending/video coach David Alexander will remain on the Crunch's coaching staff. Zettler will be offered another position within the Lightning organization.
“I’d like to personally thank Rob Zettler on behalf of the Lightning organization for his dedication and service to the Crunch,” BriseBois said. “Rob is a strong hockey man and he has been an important contributor to the overall mission of the Tampa Bay Lightning.”