BOISBRIAND, QC – OCTOBER 27: Head coach of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada Joel Bouchard calls out instructions to his team against the Drummondville Voltigeurs during the QMJHL game at Centre d’Excellence Sports Rousseau on October 27, 2017 in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada. The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada defeated the Drummondville Voltigeurs 2-0. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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The Laval Rocket have announced it has hired Joel Bouchard as head coach. Laval is the American Hockey League affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.

Bouchard will make the jump from the junior ranks where he coached Blainville-Boisbriand Armada since the 2014-15 season. He guided Blainville-Boisbriand to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League finals for the last two seasons. Bouchard also served as a defenseman in the NHL for part of 13 seasons and was an analyst for RDS.

He also served as general manager for the Armada and helped build them into a contender. Bouchard also served a general manager for Team Canada’s junior teams in 2017 and 2018. The 2017 squad took silver while the Canadians won gold in 2018.

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin also announced that the Rocket will not have a general manager for the upcoming season. However, Larry Carriere will serve as director of player personnel for the team. Carriere was the team’s general manager since 2017.

The Rocket finished last overall in the AHL and fired coach and former defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre at the end of the season. He had been the team’s head coach since 2012, when the club was first the Hamilton Bulldogs and then the St. John’s IceCaps. It was the fifth time the team missed the playoffs in six seasons.

What This Means for the Team’s Future

Bouchard is a known player developer who gets the most from younger talent. He’s a known commodity in the junior ranks and can build winners. The Habs would love to get more out of their main minor league club.

The Canadiens are on a trend of hiring top junior coaches from Quebec. Former Drummondville Voltigeurs head coach and general manager Dominique Ducharme was recently hired as an assistant coach. Ducharme was coach of this year’s gold-medal winning Team Canada.

Carriere may be on thin ice if he can’t turn the Rocket around. Bouchard’s experience as a GM could be something that hangs over Carriere if things aren’t fixed quickly.

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