Vancouver Canucks show 'faith and confidence' in coach Alain Vigneault with two-year contract extension
'I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, he says as entire coaching staff will return
Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault at team practice at UBC on Friday, April 20, 2012.
Photograph by: Jason Payne, PNG
VANCOUVER — Alain Vigneault is staying put behind the Vancouver Canucks bench. The NHL club today signed the head coach to a two-year extension that will keep him under contract through the 2014-15 season.
In his six years as Canucks coach, Vigneault has won five Northwest Division titles, two Presidents' Trophies and six playoff rounds. The Canucks finished first overall in 2011-12 but lost in the first round of the playoffs in five games to the Los Angeles Kings.
Vigneault told a conference call that he was assured by general manager Mike Gillis following the playoffs that he was wanted back. However, Gillis had to first secure his own contract extension. Once that was settled, Gillis and Vigneault began working on the coach's extension.
“It took Mike basically two weeks before he met with ownership so it just postponed my situation,” explained Vigneault, 51.
According to Vigneault, he and Gillis spent last week meeting face-to-face in Vancouver before returning Saturday to his off-season home in Gatineau, Que.
“We were pretty much together about everything, about the hockey and my contract, etc,” Vigneault said. “There were just a couple of details that we needed to iron out and we got that done yesterday. With the two-year extension, it puts me with the possibility of being the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks for nine years. Plus I had one year in charge of their farm team in Manitoba. That makes my tenure with the Vancouver organization 10 years. So I believe they have a lot of faith and confidence in me.”
Vigneault plans to bring back his entire staff that includes association coach Rick Bowness, goalie coach Rollie Melanson and assistants Newell Brown and Darryl Williams. He said he never entertained thoughts of working in another market where expectations — and the accompanying scrutiny — might not be as high.
“I've been with Vancouver for six years and I was between [NHL] jobs for six years from the time I went from Montreal to Vancouver,” Vigneault said. “There are only 30 of these jobs available. I know how hard they are to get and, when you've got one, you do everything you can to keep it, especially in a great market like we have in Vancouver where everybody is so passionate about the game.
“I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I think I've got a great vote of confidence from our ownership and management and I don't intend to let anybody down. I'm going to do what I do every day and that's come to work, be happy to come to work, be real positive and try to get the best I can out of the group. That's not going to change and I wouldn't want to do that any other place than Vancouver.”
Vigneault admitted the playoffs ending so quickly was a crushing disappointment for everyone connected with the team.
“It was a challenging year and, in my mind, very disappointing how it ended,” he said. “It was very disappointing to our fans and to very disappointing to us. We're looking for solutions, we're going to find those solutions and we're going to move forward.”
Prior to Vigneault's conference call with reporters, Gillis commented in a release on his reasons for extending the coach.
“Alain has established himself as one of the premiere coaches in the National Hockey League,” Gillis said. “He has demonstrated a commitment to winning that has led to back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies and we are confident his dedication and hard work will continue to yield positive results. Alain has built a foundation of winning with this franchise and I feel he can continue to build on that foundation to achieve our ultimate goal.”
Vigneault, 51, was NHL coach of the year in 2006-07 and has also been twice a finalist, most recently last season. He is the club's all-time leader in wins with 287, having passed Marc Crawford last season.
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