Chance meeting led to Jets’ job for Vincent


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WINNIPEG -- It was the business-world equivalent of a cold call but the Winnipeg Jets used it to fill their vacant assistant coaching position.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/07/2011 (4338 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG — It was the business-world equivalent of a cold call but the Winnipeg Jets used it to fill their vacant assistant coaching position.

The NHL team has hired 39-year-old Pascal Vincent of the Montreal Juniors.

Vincent was introduced to Jets assistant GM Craig Heisinger at the NHL entry draft by Saint John Sea Dogs associate coach and director of hockey operations Mike Kelly, who is a former Manitoba Moose assistant and ex-coach of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings.

It wasn’t a meeting, just a hello, but when the Jets’ first choice, Ray Edwards, declined the position, other options were explored.

Including a cold call on Vincent, who had been a coach and/or GM in the QMJHL for 12 years.

“I think one of the strengths that I have is that I’m able to integrate people and really get along with people and get the best out of people, not just players but staff,” said Jets head coach Claude Noel, asked about hiring somebody he didn’t know. “It’s going to be a challenge for me but I’m welcoming the challenge.”

Noel said the interview with Vincent went very well.

“And he came highly recommended,” Noel said. “He’s a young guy. He’s had some success in junior hockey. He relates well to players. I really liked his character traits, what he brought to the table. He’s well-versed.”

The former assistant coach for Canada’s national junior team will be responsible for the Jets forward and for the team’s power play as he starts his two-year contract.

Noel also said he likes the fact that Vincent is the youngest member of the coaching staff. Noel is 55, assistant coach Charlie Huddy is 52 and goalie coach Wade Flaherty is 43.

“I think the youthfulness is good,” Noel said. “It’s a good mixture for our staff. It was something I was looking for.”

Vincent, who ran the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles between 1999 and 2008, then the Montreal Juniors, had a record of 429-313-87 over the 12 seasons. That time included nine playoff series wins and the Ron Lapointe coach-of-the-year trophy in 2007-08 when he coached the Screaming Eagles.

Vincent was also QMJHL GM of the year in 2006-07 when his Cape Breton team went 46-22-2 and went to the third round of the playoffs with current Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec.

“It’s certainly a privilege to work with great quality people,” Vincent told reporters via a conference call Friday. “Obviously it’s a dream coming true for a coach or a player when you reach the best league in the world, it’s always very special.”

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