Arniel chosen to pilot Jets – Winnipeg Free Press

Scott Arniel has worn many hats in the Winnipeg Jets organization throughout his career. He now has a new one: the head coach.

The 61-year-old, who served as associate coach for the past two seasons, was named Friday afternoon as the successor to the retiring Rick Bowness.

Arniel is the fourth bench boss since the club moved from Atlanta to Winnipeg in 2011, following Bowness, Paul Maurice and Claude Noel. (Dave Lowry served as interim coach between Maurice and Bowness.) He is the ninth head coach in franchise history.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / FREE PRESS FILES Scott Arniel has been named head coach of the Winnipeg Jets.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / FREE PRESS FILES

Scott Arniel has been named head coach of the Winnipeg Jets.

There was no doubt that Arniel was the favorite for the job, and that didn’t change after a search that included interviews with several other candidates, including Craig Berube, who was recently hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Todd McLellan.

This will be Arniel’s second stint behind an NHL bench, having spent a season and a half leading the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11 and 2011-12, compiling a record of 45-60-18.

“He has a great overall feel for the game. A great feeling from the staff that’s coaching and the way that they communicate with the players and the connection that they build, the relationship that they build with them,” said University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks head coach Brad Berry. Free Press in a telephone interview.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Arniel, then associate coach (left), speaks with new head coach Rick Bowness during the opening day of their 2022 NHL training camp practice in Winnipeg.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES

Arniel, then associate coach (left), speaks with new head coach Rick Bowness during the opening day of their NHL training camp practice in Winnipeg in 2022.

Berry spent four years working with Arniel: two as an assistant with Columbus and two before that as an assistant with the Manitoba Moose.

“You know what? He’s grown exponentially,” said Berry, who has stayed in close contact with Arniel over the years and believes those earlier struggles were part of the growing process for him.

“Nothing replaces experience. No matter how much you prepare, going through those situations, it makes you grow. The best part for Arnie is that he spent a lot of time thinking about his first time as a (NHL) head coach and ultimately after that, through his different stints as a coach, he grew from those experiences. “, said.

“The coaches who are successful are the ones who know that you have to change, adapt and learn from your past experiences, and I think he has done that. I feel like he’s obviously ready to take the reins again and I think he’s going to do an outstanding job.”

UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA ARCHIVES / KEN GIGLIOTTI / FREE PRESS ARCHIVES A Winnipeg Jets hockey program from the 1982-83 season features Scott Arniel on the cover.

UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA ARCHIVES / KEN GIGLIOTTI / FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

A Winnipeg Jets hockey program from the 1982-83 season features Scott Arniel on the cover.

Although Arniel normally displays a lot of calm on the bench and on the podium, there is a fiery side that Berry is quite familiar with, having been on his staff at multiple stops.

“He’s a guy who likes to take charge and run his own bank, and I know he’ll have a lot of passion and exuberance when he does it,” he said.

“That’s one of the things he learned, to have that calmness on the podium and not flinch at different moments of the season. But I know one thing: he is honest and direct. Working with him in Manitoba and Columbus, he is an honest and direct person. It doesn’t sugarcoat things.

“Honesty and clarity are a big deal. Communication is huge nowadays.”

Arniel had a bit of a tryout with the Jets the past two years, filling in for Bowness three times over the past two seasons with a 15-7-3 record in the interim role.

The Scott Arniel File

Age: 61
Born in Kingston, Ontario, he resides in Winnipeg.
Chosen in the second round, 22nd overall, of the 1981 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets
He appeared in 764 NHL games, including the Stanley Cup playoffs, scoring 152 goals, 192 assists and 344 points.

• Age: 61
• Born in Kingston, Ontario, he resides in Winnipeg.
• Chosen in the second round, 22nd overall, of the 1981 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets
• Appeared in 764 NHL games, including the Stanley Cup playoffs, scoring 152 goals, 192 assists and 344 points.
He spent seven seasons in the International Hockey League as a player, including three with the Manitoba Moose and one more in the American Hockey League.
He spent 16 seasons in the NHL as a head coach, associate coach and assistant coach with the Jets, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres.
He spent four seasons as the Manitoba Moose head coach, leading the team to Game 6 of the Calder Cup Final in 2009, and two more seasons as an assistant coach in the organization.
He spent one season as head coach of the Chicago Wolves of the AHL and one season as a player/assistant coach with the Houston Eros of the IHL.
He helped the QMJHL’s Cornwall Royals capture back-to-back Memorial Cup championships in 1980 and 1981, and suited up for Canada in two World Junior Hockey Championships (1981 and 1982).

“From the beginning, we talked about family and not letting Rick and (his wife) Judy down,” an emotional Arniel said earlier this year. He had interviewed for the job that ultimately went to Bowness in 2022, and it appeared he was the team’s coach-in-waiting.

“You always want to have a second chance to kick it,” Arniel admitted. Keeping the good ship Winnipeg afloat while Bowness tended to her and her family’s health problems served to further fuel her fire.

The Jets are coming off a regular season in which they finished 52-24-6 (fourth overall in the 32-team league) and won the Jennings Trophy, which is awarded to “goaltenders who have played a minimum of 25 games.” for the team with the fewest goals scored against them, based on regular season play.

Arniel’s connection to the city dates back to 1981, when he was selected in the second round, 22nd overall, in the NHL draft by the first Jets franchise. His good friend and junior teammate, Dale Hawerchuk, was drafted first overall by the Jets that year.

The Kingston, Ont., product played five years in Winnipeg before being traded to Buffalo, then returned for another season in 1990-91. He ultimately played 730 NHL games, with 338 points (149 goals, 189 assists).

“He has more than paid his debts. Really happy for him and the Jets,” said Eric Hawerchuk, son of the Jets legend who died of cancer in 2020. Free Press. “Dad would be smiling.”

KEN GIGLIOTTI / FREE PRESS FILES Scott Arniel during his first seas as a Winnipeg Jet in 1981.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / FREE PRESS FILES

Scott Arniel during his first seas as a Winnipeg Jet in 1981.

Arniel concluded his professional career playing his final three seasons with the Manitoba Moose and retired in 1999 to become an assistant coach for two years with the club. After joining the Buffalo Sabers as an assistant coach from 2002-06, Arniel returned to Winnipeg as the Moose’s head coach for four seasons, which included a 2009 appearance in the Calder Cup final.

After being fired by the Blue Jackets midway through the 2012 season, Arniel accepted the head coaching position with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves for the 2012–13 campaign, then returned to the NHL as an associate coach with the New York Rangers. (five seasons) and Washington Capitals (four seasons) before joining Bowness’ staff.

Arniel and Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will speak to the media Monday morning. With Arniel moving up, that creates at least one associate/assistant vacancy, assuming both Brad Lauer and Marty Johnston continue in their current roles.

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Ken Wiebe

Ken Wiebe
sports reporter

Raised in the burgeoning metropolis of Altona, Man., Ken Wiebe grew up wanting to play in the NHL, but after realizing his hands were better at writing than scoring, he turned his attention to covering his favorite sport such as writer.

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Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
sports reporter

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream faded, he put all his strength into becoming a professional writer.

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