Bulldogs tap Lever as head coach

Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey announced today the appointment of Don Lever as head coach of the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs.

Lever, who succeeds new Canadiens assistant coach Doug Jarvis, becomes the sixth head coach in Bulldogs history.

“We are pleased to introduce Don Lever as the new head coach of our AHL club in Hamilton,” said Gainey. “Don brings a wealth of experience in coaching at the NHL and AHL levels. The Montreal Canadiens organization feels he will be a strong participant in the development of our young prospects in Hamilton.”

Lever, a 52-year-old native of South Porcupine, Ont., was the St. Louis Blues’ assistant coach for the past two NHL seasons (2002-04).

“I am looking forward to the challenge of developing the young players and being behind the bench once again,” said Lever. “It is a great honour to become a part of such successful organizations as the Montreal Canadiens and Hamilton Bulldogs.”

Prior to joining St. Louis in 2002, Lever spent 12 seasons in the Buffalo Sabres organization. Lever began his coaching career as a Sabres assistant in the 1987-88 season. He then served as head coach of the Rochester Americans from 1990-92, before returning to Buffalo as an assistant for the 1992-93 season. In 1990-91, Lever’s first season as coach of the Amerks, he won the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach after Rochester went to the Calder Cup Finals following a league best 45-26-9 regular season. Lever also played for Rochester in 1985-86 and 1986-87, winning the Calder Cup in the role of player/assistant in his final pro season.

Lever played 1,020 NHL games during his career with Vancouver, Atlanta/Calgary, Colorado/New Jersey and Buffalo, accumulating 313 goals and 367 assists for 680 points.