With Joel Bouchard departing as Laval’s head coach earlier this month, it created a vacancy to be filled on their staff. That opening has now been filled as the Habs announced that Jean-Francois Houle will be the third bench boss in franchise history.
The 46-year-old is the son of Rejean Houle and was actually drafted by the Habs back in 1993 but never advanced past AHL Fredericton. He opted to hang up his skates early, retiring at the age of 27 and beginning his coaching career one year later as an assistant at Clarkson where he played in his college days.
After seven years there, Houle went to the QMJHL where he was a head coach for four years between Lewiston and Blainville-Boisbriand and was Coach of the Year in 2011-12. After that, it was onto the pros, joining Bakersfield of the ECHL as their head coach, transferring to an assistant one year later when they were promoted to the AHL. He had been in that spot for the past six seasons before today’s announcement.
Running an AHL bench is the next logical step for Houle as he continues in his coaching development. He’ll be tasked with picking up where Joel Bouchard in terms of developing Montreal’s prospects which will be no small task with how well the Rocket performed this past season.