Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson announced today that former AHL coach of the year Scott Arniel has been named the team’s new head coach. Arniel joins the Blue Jackets after spending the past four seasons as bench boss of the Manitoba Moose.
"Scott Arniel possesses all the qualities we were looking for in a head coach and we are very pleased to have him join the Blue Jackets organization," said Howson. "He played in the NHL for many years, was an assistant coach in the league and has been successful in developing young players. Scott has been one of the top coaches in the American Hockey League the past four years, averaging 45 wins and 99 points a season playing an attacking, up-tempo game."
Arniel, 47 led the club to a 181-122-17 from 2006-10, including North Division titles during the 2006-07 and 2008-09 seasons, four playoff appearances and a trip to the 2009 Calder Cup Final.
Arniel was named the winner of the 2008-09 A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach after guiding the club to a 50-23-7 record, which marked the most successful season in franchise history. The team set franchise records for wins, home wins (25-tied) and road wins (25) and finished first overall in the AHL for the first time in club history.
Prior to his stint in Manitoba, he served as an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres for three seasons from 2002-06 and helped the club to a 52-24-6 record and a berth the Eastern Conference Final in 2005-06. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach with the Moose, serving in that capacity from 1999-2002.
"I am extremely flattered and honored to be the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets and want to thank Scott and the organization for giving me this opportunity," said Arniel. "I’ve been impressed by a lot of what I see here. I see myself as a young coach and this is a young, talented team with great potential and I am ready to get to work."
Winnipeg’s second pick, 22nd overall, in the 1981 Entry Draft, Arniel spent parts of 11 seasons in the NHL from 1981-92 and registered 149 goals and 189 assists for 338 points and 599 penalty minutes in 730 career games with the Sabres, Winnipeg Jets and Boston Bruins. He helped his teams qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in eight of those seasons and tallied 3-3-6 and 39 penalty minutes in 34 career playoff games. He set career highs with 21-35-56 and 68 penalty minutes in 80 games with Winnipeg during the 1983-84 season.
The Kingston, Ontario native also played eight seasons in the AHL and former International Hockey League, collecting 201-273-474 and 713 penalty minutes in 555 career games with Maine (AHL), New Haven (AHL), San Diego (IHL), Houston (IHL), Utah (IHL) and Manitoba (IHL). He added 25-17-42 and 88 penalty minutes in 55 career playoff games and helped the Utah Grizzlies win the Turner Cup in 1995-96. He retired as a player following the 1998-99 season.
Arniel was born September 17, 1962. He and his wife Lia, are the parents of son, Brendan, and daughter, Stephanie.