It was only yesterday that information spilled that Jacques Lemaire could be leaving the New Jersey Devils in his position as special assignment coach. This morning, that information turned into him negotiating between the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens. It wasn’t long after that Lemaire signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The #Leafs have hired Jacques Lemaire as Special Assignment Coach. #TMLtalk READ → http://t.co/kZzjWliIwV pic.twitter.com/kYht7OYYvk
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) August 14, 2015
Lemaire, soon to be turning 70, follows in the footsteps of his former general manager Lou Lamoriello in being another New Jersey Devil alumni to join the organization. Unlike various points in New Jersey where Lemaire was used as a coaching replacement in case of dismissal, Lemaire will work in helping keep the communications between head coach Mike Babcock and Lamoriello open and clear. Lemaire explained, “I intend work with both coaches. I know that Sheldon will be fun because with the farm team there’s a lot of experience I can bring by talking with him. With Mike, we know each other from the Olympics and I really enjoyed working with him at that time and I’m really excited to spend a whole year. The time I’ll be in Toronto, I’ll be at camp and I think that Mike will ask me any time he needs me close, I’ll be there and I’ll be watching all the games, making my reports, watching certain things he wants me to look at. It’s hard to say exactly how many times I’ll be there. I think we’ll go with the flow here.”
Lemaire, 69, has coached more than 1,200 games between Montreal, New Jersey and Minnesota. The LaSalle, Quebec native is an 11-time Stanley Cup champion – winning eight times as a player, twice as an assistant general manager and once as a head coach. Lemaire is a two-time winner of the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s coach of the year and also won an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada while serving as an assistant with head coach Mike Babcock.
“Obviously Jacques Lemaire has a wealth of experience. We had a great relationship from the 2010 Olympics and I’ve asked him to join our staff to help me and the rest of our coaches within the entire organization be the best they can be,” said Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock.
As a player, Lemaire spent his entire NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens. He’s a former two-time NHL all-star and one of only six NHL players to have scored two Stanley Cup winning goals. Lemaire was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984.