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Noel-Bernier completes Griffins' staff

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday announced the addition of Dave Noel-Bernier to their hockey operations staff as an assistant coach. Noel-Bernier, who joins head coach Jeff Blashill and new assistant Pat Ferschweiler behind the bench, replaces Spiros Anastas, who departed the Griffins after two seasons to become the head coach at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.

A native of Montmagny, Quebec, Noel-Bernier has served as the director of hockey for the Eagles Ice Center and the Grand Rapids Blades youth program since 2013. He was also an assistant coach for the Grand Rapids Christian High School varsity team last season, when he was named Total Package Hockey’s Michigan High School Division III Assistant Coach of the Year after helping lead the Eagles to a 19-7-1 record. The 38-year-old will maintain each of those roles while working for the Griffins, continuing to develop the GRCHS and Blades players at the Eagles Ice Center.

Noel-Bernier, a member of the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s inaugural Division I team in 1997 and the Mavericks’ first CCHA squad in 1999, compiled 50 points (24-26—50) in 138 career games from 1997-2001, spending the final three seasons as a teammate of current Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in exercise science in 2001, earning UNO Male Scholar Athlete of the Year and CCHA All-Academic Team honors to go with his third selection as UNO’s Student Athlete of the Year.

Following graduation, Noel-Bernier played six seasons at the minor professional level, including two stints with the United Hockey League’s Muskegon Fury in 2003-04 and 2006-07. In 2003-04, as a linemate of former Griffins Jeff Nelson and Kory Karlander, he picked up 53 points (21-32—53) in 72 regular season games before helping the Fury win the Colonial Cup.

Upon retiring as a player, Noel-Bernier returned to UNO and served as director of hockey operations from 2007-10, while also acting as the Mavericks’ video coordinator and assistant strength and conditioning coach. After three seasons coaching in Omaha, he accepted a position as an assistant coach with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, who had recently shifted from the International Hockey League to the United States Hockey League, the country’s premier junior league.

Noel-Bernier, who spent parts of three seasons (2010-13) with the Lumberjacks before joining Grand Rapids Christian and the Blades, has helped to produce more than 15 NHL draft picks and 50 Division I players since 2007.

“Dave comes to the Griffins highly recommend by a number of people I trust,” said Blashill. “He has a great work ethic, is very intelligent and is detail oriented, and his experience at Nebraska-Omaha and with the Muskegon Lumberjacks will be a great asset for our staff. Dave is a driven coach and I believe his addition will help us all grow. We are excited to add him to our coaching staff.”

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