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Montreal Canadiens AHL Coach Takes Collegiate Post

Jean-Francois Houle Hired

News emerged early on Friday afternoon that Laval Rocket coach Jean-Francois Houle has been named the Clarkson University men’s hockey coach. Houle had worked for the Montreal Canadiens affiliate for three years. However, the last three was as the team’s head coach.

 Jean-Francois Houle Hired by Alma Mater

Houle returns to Potsdam, New York where he played his college hockey for the Golden Knights. He was a highly-touted recruit that came to the Northern New York campus in 1993. The Montreal native co-captained the team to the ECAC’s regular-season title and a number-one seed in the NCAA Regionals. Houle played 143 games with the Golden Knights, scoring 49 goals with 129 points overall, but his defensive game was what he was known for.

He didn’t make the NHL, but he had stints in the AHL and ECHL. The 1997 graduate made the transition to coaching in 2003 under then coach George Roll. He was an assistant for a number of seasons before taking over the Lewiston Maineiacs of the QMJHL. Houle then moved to the Armada of Blainville-Boisbriand after the Maineiacs folded and was 2012 coach of the year.

The 49-year-old then worked in the Edmonton Oilers and Canadiens organizations and helped develop talent. Houle has helped develop some of Montreal’s exciting talent that has tremendous upside.

What it Means

He did recently sign a contract extension a few weeks ago. However, the lure to lead his old college program was just too great. Houle takes over for Casey Jones, who will be the head coach in waiting at ECAC rival Cornell. Jones will take over for longtime bench boss Mike Schafer, who will retire at the end of the 2024-25 season.

Clarkson may be a Division III program in other sports, but does have a rich history with its hockey program. Houle’s eye for talent and ability to develop it might be able to keep the Golden Knights among the better college hockey programs.

Main photo by: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports


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