The Manitoba Moose, in conjunction with the Vancouver Canucks, today announced they have named Claude Noel as the team’s new head coach.
Noel, 54, becomes the sixth head coach in the 15-year history of the Manitoba Moose. Last year, the Kirkland Lake, Ont., native spent his third season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, starting the season as an assistant coach before taking over from Ken Hitchcock as head coach on February 3, 2010.
The Blue Jackets finished the season 10-8-6 under the guidance of Noel. During his three years with the club, the Blue Jackets compiled a record of 107-102-15-22 in 246 games.
Before his time with the Blue Jackets, Noel spent four seasons as head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Nashville Predators. During that time, he led the club to a 183-94-12-31 regular season record, three 100-point seasons and two West Division titles.
He also compiled a 33-21 record in the Calder Cup Playoffs, including two appearances in the Finals. During the 2003-04 season, the club compiled a 46-24-7-3 record and went 16-6 in the playoffs en route to capturing the organization’s first-ever Calder Cup championship. Noel was subsequently named the Coach of the Year when he was honored with the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award.
Noel made his coaching debut in the ECHL with the Roanoke Valley Rebels in 1990-91 and served as the Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations for the ECHL’s Dayton Bombers from 1991-93. In 1993, he joined the Kalamazoo Wings (later the Michigan K-Wings), the International Hockey League affiliate of the Dallas Stars, as an Assistant Coach. He succeeded then-coach Ken Hitchcock behind the bench during the 1995-96 season and served in that capacity through the 1997-98 campaign.
From 1998-02, he was an Assistant Coach with the Milwaukee Admirals and in 2002-03 was named ECHL Coach of the Year with the Toledo Storm before returning to Milwaukee as Head Coach prior to the 2003-04 season.
As a player, Noel appeared in seven games with the Washington Capitals during the 1979-80 season. He spent most of his playing career in the AHL and IHL and was named the latter’s Most Valuable Player in 1982-83 after leading the Toledo Goaldiggers to the Turner Cup Championship. He also won a Calder Cup as a member of the Hershey Bears in 1979-80. He wrapped up his playing career with Milwaukee in 1987-88.