Arniel captures Pieri Award as outstanding coach

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Scott Arniel of the Manitoba Moose has been named the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach for the 2008-09 season, as voted by coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 29 cities.

Arniel has led the Moose to their second North Division championship in his three seasons as head coach, their record of 49-22-0-6 (104 points) tied for the best mark in the league with three games remaining. Arniel has had to utilize 51 different players in the Manitoba lineup since opening night, second-most of any team in the AHL, including 14 who have also seen action in the National Hockey League in 2008-09. His Moose rank first in the AHL in defense averaging 2.30 goals against per game and are third in penalty killing with an 86.0 percent efficiency.

A 46-year-old native of Kingston, Ont., Arniel has long had ties to Winnipeg, having been drafted by the NHL’s Jets in 1981 and playing more than 400 games for the franchise from 1981-86 and 1990-91. Arniel also played for the Moose from 1996-99, including two seasons as team captain, and was Manitoba’s assistant coach from 2000-02. Arniel has a career head coaching record of 140-82-15 with the Moose, and his .622 winning percentage ranks second among active AHL head coaches who have worked at least one full season.

The Louis A.R. Pieri Award, which was first presented in 1968, honors the late Mr. Pieri, a long-time contributor to the AHL as the owner and general manager of the Providence Reds and a 2009 inductee into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame. Previous winners of the award include Frank Mathers (1969), Fred Shero (1970), Al MacNeil (1972, ’77), John Muckler (1975), Jacques Demers (1983), Larry Pleau (1987), Mike Milbury (1988), John Paddock (1988), Marc Crawford (1993), Barry Trotz (1994), Robbie Ftorek (1995, ’96), Peter Laviolette (1999), Claude Julien (2003), Claude Noel (2004), Randy Cunneyworth (2005), Kevin Dineen (2006), Mike Haviland (2007) and Scott Gordon (2008).

Currently in its 73rd season of play, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 50 million fans have attended AHL games across North America over the past eight years. Sixteen clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.