Cunneyworth named Hamilton head coach

Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the club has named Randy Cunneyworth as head coach and Randy Ladouceur as assistant coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Cunneyworth will be the ninth head coach in franchise history.

“We were looking for a strong leader to coach our farm team in Hamilton. In Randy Cunneyworth, we get an individual who knows the game inside-out and who brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and as a coach, to the table. Together, Randy Cunneyworth and Randy Ladouceur combine for over 20 years of coaching experience at the professional level. We are extremely pleased that they have joined the Canadiens’ organization,” said Gauthier.

Cunneyworth was an assistant coach with the National Hockey League’s Atlanta Thrashers over the past two seasons (2008-10). He previously spent nine seasons with the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans, including seven seasons as head coach from 2000 to 2008. During his tenure with the Americans, Cunneyworth posted a record of 306-273-61 (.526), leading his team to three 40-plus win seasons, two 100-point seasons and six playoff berths. He is tied for 11th place on the American Hockey League’s all-time wins list among head coaches (306).

During the 2004-2005 season, Cunneyworth led the Americans to a 51-19-4-6 record (112 points), en route to the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the league’s top team in the regular season standings. That season, Cunneyworth would earn the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Trophy as the AHL’s coach of the year.

Cunneyworth reached the Calder Cup Finals with Rochester as a player in 1999 and as an assistant coach in 2000. He earned the AHL’s Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award in 1999-2000 (sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey). He played in a total of 273 career AHL games with Rochester and Springfield, recording 270 points (166 goals, 104 assists) helping Rochester win the Calder Cup in 1983.

A 49-year-old native of Etobicoke, Ont., Cunneyworth played 15 seasons in the NHL between 1981 and 1999. Selected in the 8th round, 167th overall, by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, the left winger played 866 career regular season games, suiting up with Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Hartford, Chicago and Ottawa. He registered 414 points (189 goals, 225 assists) and totaled 1,280 penalty minutes. He served as the Ottawa Senators captain for four seasons (1994-1998) and reached the Stanley Cup Finals with the Sabres in 1999.

Ladouceur, 50, served as an assistant coach for 10 seasons in the NHL, including eight with the Carolina Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers from 1996 to 2004, and two with the Toronto Maple Leafs frmo 2006-08. Last season, he was an assistant coach for the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs. He was also head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals in 2005-06.

A native of Brockville, Ont., Ladouceur had an NHL career that spanned over 14 seasons, from 1982 to 1996, with Detroit, Hartford and Anaheim. The defenseman played 931 career NHL games, registering 156 points (30 goals, 126 assists) and totaled 1,322 penalty minutes.

Ladouceur played parts of three seasons in the AHL with the Adirondack Red Wings from 1981-84.