Noel tapped to coach Winnipeg NHL club

The NHL’s new Winnipeg franchise has chosen its first coach with the announcement Friday in St. Paul, Minn., that Claude Noel will be behind the bench when the team hits the ice of the MTS Centre in October.

Noel is the former coach of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, where he spent the 2010-11 season compiling a 43-30-7 record and falling to Hamilton in seven games in the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Prior to that, he spent four seasons as the head coach of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals and three as an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Noel guided the Admirals to the 2004 Calder Cup championship and earned the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as AHL coach of the year that season, and he took Milwaukee to another Finals appearance in 2006. His AHL regular-season coaching record stands at 226-141-33 in 400 games.

Noel has also coached in the ECHL and IHL and has some experience as an NHL head coach — he was the interim coach of the Blue Jackets for 24 games in 2010 after Columbus fired Ken Hitchcock, compiling a 10-8-6 record.