Milwaukee’s Noel joins Columbus as assistant coach

Milwaukee Admirals head coach Claude Noel has been named the new assistant coach of the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets. The addition of Noel rounds out the Blue Jackets coaching staff for the upcoming 2007-08 season.

“As I look forward to new challenges with the Columbus Blue Jackets, I would like to thank the Milwaukee Admirals fans, staff and media for their tremendous support during my time here,” said Noel. “It’s an emotional day that brings both sadness and joy. There are a lot of people to thank and I will cherish the relationships that we’ve had.”

Noel led the Admirals to four years of unprecedented success, including two trips to the Calder Cup Finals and a championship in 2004. In those four seasons he accumulated an impressive 183-111-26 record, good for a .639 points percentage. During his tenure the Admirals had the second-most points in the American Hockey League and became just the fourth team in AHL history to post 100 or more points in three straight seasons.

The Kirkland Lake, Ont., native won the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s coach of the year in 2003-04 after he led the Ads to the league’s best regular-season record and the Calder Cup title, the only championship in team history. In addition, the team’s 49 wins in 2005-06 were the second most in Admirals history, while the 21 regulation losses set a franchise mark for the fewest in one campaign.

Noel also starred in the AHL as a player, recording 284 points in 351 games and winning a Calder Cup championship with the Hershey Bears in 1980.

The Admirals will begin the search for a new head coach immediately.