Houle named head coach of Rocket

Photo: Mark Nessia

The Montreal Canadiens have named Jean-François Houle as head coach of the AHL’s Laval Rocket.

“After meeting with him, we quickly concluded that his philosophy and values aligned with ours. His dedication, passion for hockey, attention to detail, and leadership ability are among his top qualities. Jean-François’ many years of experience, along with his knowledge of the American Hockey League and the Quebec market, made him the perfect candidate for the position. He has proven himself at all levels and has a great reputation. His expertise will be a key element in the development of our organization’s young players,” said Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.

Houle, 46, had spent the last seven seasons with the Edmonton Oilers organization, including the last six as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. He helped the Condors to a regular-season Pacific Division championship in 2018-19, and the division playoff title in 2020-21. Houle served as head coach in Bakersfield during their final ECHL season in 2014-15.

Prior to joining the Oilers, Houle spent five seasons as a head coach in the QMJHL with Lewiston (2009-11) and Blainville-Boisbriand (2011-14). He was also an assistant coach at his alma mater, Clarkson University, from 2003 to 2009.

A fourth-round pick by Montreal in the 1993 NHL Draft, Houle played 72 games in the American Hockey League during his pro career, skating with the Fredericton Canadiens and Cincinnati Mighty Ducks.