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Maple Leafs hire Lemaire as special assignment coach

NHL.com @NHL

Jacques Lemaire will be reunited with Lou Lamoriello after being hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday as a special assignment coach.

Lemaire, 69, spent parts of seven seasons as coach of the New Jersey Devils under president and general manager Lamoriello, who became GM of the Maple Leafs on July 23.

"I have been working with Lou for so many years and we became real good friends," Lemaire told the Maple Leafs website. "I love the work. Also, you've got [Maple Leafs coach] Mike [Babcock], I worked at the Olympics with him. I feel that he's the best coach around and it'll be a thrill to be able to assist him.

"That's what made me really excited, because Mike called me and Lou called me that same day and I feel that through the two calls, I said I think I can be working with them and bring something to the table."

Lemaire coached 1,262 regular-season games for the Devils, Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild, and he led the Devils to their first Stanley Cup in 1995. Lemaire is an 11-time Stanley Cup champion, having won eight times with the Canadiens as a player and twice as assistant general manager.

"What I do is I look at the team, I bring suggestions on players, I bring suggestions on everything I see," Lemaire said. "It's like you're involved with the team the whole time and sometimes you're missing certain things. Looking from the outside, not having that constant pressure, I think I can help quite a bit."

Lemaire was an assistant coach under Babcock when Canada won the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

"Obviously Jacques Lemaire has a wealth of experience. We had a great relationship from the 2010 Olympics and I've asked him to join our staff to help me and the rest of our coaches within the entire organization be the best they can be," Babcock said in a statement.

Lemaire, a center, had 366 goals and 835 points in 853 regular-season games, and 61 goals and 139 points in 145 Stanley Cup Playoff games. The LaSalle, Quebec, native was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984.

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