Moose’s Vincent earns top coach honors for 2017-18

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Pascal Vincent of the Manitoba Moose is the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach for the 2017-18 season.

The award is voted on by fellow coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

Photo: Jonathan Kozub

Vincent has guided the Moose to a 20-point improvement over last season, going from a seventh-place finish in the Central Division in 2016-17 to a Calder Cup Playoff berth and vying for the division title entering the final week of 2017-18. Under Vincent this year, Manitoba set several franchise records, including a .724 first-half record that helped earn Vincent the honor of coaching in the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic. Vincent’s Moose rank among the top five in the league in both goals for (3.36, T-3rd) and goals against per game (2.66, fifth), and also own the second-ranked power play in the league at 21.2 percent efficiency. In addition, Vincent has been instrumental in the development of many members of the parent Winnipeg Jets, who finished with the second-best record in the National Hockey League this season.

A 46-year-old native of Laval, Que., Vincent is in his second season as head coach of the Moose following five years as an assistant coach with the Jets. One of the original hires on Winnipeg’s staff when they returned to the NHL in 2011, he helped guide the Jets to a record of 176-156-44 and a berth in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Before joining the organization, Vincent was a head coach in the QMJHL for 12 seasons with Montreal and Cape Breton, earning league coach of the year honors in 2007-08.

The Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award, which was first presented in 1968, honors the late Mr. Pieri, a long-time contributor to the AHL as the owner and general manager of the Providence Reds and a member of the American Hockey League Hall of Fame. Previous winners of the award include Frank Mathers (1969), Fred Shero (1970), Al MacNeil (1972, ’77), John Muckler (1975), Jacques Demers (1983), Larry Pleau (1987), Mike Milbury (1988), John Paddock (1988), Marc Crawford (1993), Barry Trotz (1994), Robbie Ftorek (1995, ’96), Peter Laviolette (1999), Claude Julien and Geoff Ward (2003), Claude Noel (2004), Randy Cunneyworth (2005), Kevin Dineen (2006), Scott Gordon (2008), Scott Arniel (2009), John Hynes (2011), Jon Cooper (2012), Willie Desjardins (2013), Jeff Blashill (2014), Mike Stothers (2015), Rick Kowalsky (2016) and Roy Sommer (2017).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 31 National Hockey League teams. More than 87 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2017-18 regular season ends Sunday, and then 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.

The winner of the 2017-18 Eddie Shore Award (outstanding defenseman) will be announced Tuesday.