The Professional Hockey Players’ Association announced today that former American Hockey League player and coach Claude Julien has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the PHPA Curt Leichner Distinguished Member Award.
The award, named in honor of former PHPA Executive Director Curt Leichner, is presented annually to a member of the hockey community who has made significant contributions towards the advancement of professional minor league hockey, and has continued to diligently serve the sport.
Julien played 12 seasons of professional hockey from 1980-92, including 469 games in the American Hockey League with the Fredericton Express, Baltimore Skipjacks, Halifax Citadels and Moncton Hawks. During the 1986-87 season, Julien was elected by his Fredericton teammates to serve as the team’s PHPA Player Representative.
His vision for the PHPA and demonstrated leadership abilities soon earned him the elected position as President of the PHPA player Executive Committee, a post he held for three seasons until his retirement after the 1991-92 season. As president, Julien initiated discussions towards an education program for players which is now known as the Career Enhancement Program, helped set up a severance trust fund for players, as well as a licensing program to help protect player likeness rights, among many others.
After his retirement as a player, Julien transitioned into coaching, winning the Memorial Cup with the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before coaching three seasons with the Hamilton Bulldogs. He shared the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach with Geoff Ward in 2002-03.
Julien has gone on to hold NHL head coaching positions with Montreal, New Jersey and Boston, where he was awarded the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year in 2009 and won a Stanley Cup in 2011.
“There are very few people who have been as instrumental in advancing the Association and its members’ rights as Claude Julien,” said PHPA Executive Director Larry Landon. “We shared a common vision as to where the PHPA could go, and his passion and commitment were significant in allowing us to create a strong foundation on which we have built today’s PHPA.”
“Being recognized by the Professional Hockey Players’ Association and receiving this award is a tremendous honor and one I am truly thankful for,” said Julien. “Our collective goal at the PHPA was to improve the relationships between all parties involved in the game of hockey. I am proud that the vision we had for the Association became a reality and that many of the ideas and major initiatives we worked on helped advance relations between the leagues, management and players.”
Since its inception in 1967, the Professional Hockey Players’ Association (PHPA) has continued to serve as an advocate of player interests. Currently, the PHPA is the certified, U.S. National Labor Relations Board collective bargaining representative for over 1,600 players on 63 teams in the American Hockey League, ECHL and Central Hockey League.