St. Louis, who was born in Laval, Que., outside of Montreal, is a former NHL forward who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018. The 46-year-old had no coaching experience in the NHL, but was a consultant with the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2018-19 season.
“It’s a great honor for me to be named coach of the Montreal Canadiens,” St. Louis said Thursday. “I grew up here, I was a huge Habs fan. It’s something I’ve been preparing to do for about 10 years. I was able to disconnect from the pro game for about six, seven years so I could be with my three boys and my wife. And I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful wife who allows me to once again pursue a dream that I’ve always wanted. Thank you for this opportunity.
The terms of his contract were not disclosed.
“It’s always been my dream to be an NHL coach,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t whether I would or not, it was just a matter of when I would. When (general manager) Kent [Hughes] approached me, I had no doubt that it was a very good opportunity, that it was the moment. And the terms and the contract weren’t important to me, that’s not what I want. For me, it’s the opportunity. All my life that’s all I’ve been looking for is opportunity. I don’t need promises or anything like that. Give me a chance and I’ll show you what I can do.”
The Canadiens lost St. Louis’ debut, 5-2, to the Washington Capitals in Montreal on Thursday.
St. Louis played 16 NHL seasons from 1998 to 2015 and scored 1,033 points (391 goals, 642 assists) in 1,134 games with the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames. He won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004, the season he won the Hart Trophy voted NHL MVP, and won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer twice (2003-04, 2012-13).
” I’m passionate. I eat hockey,” St. Louis said. “So when you ask me why I want to do this, one is the Montreal Canadiens. And two, I’m the head coach. So those are two really good reasons to stop whatever you’re doing. “, even to leave your family. I’ve had six or seven good years (since my retirement) helping them on and off the ice. I know they’re in good hands.”
St. Louis was most recently coaching at the peewee level.
“If there’s anything this team needs right now, it’s fun,” St. Louis said. “I know when they were peewees, they were having fun so I’m probably the most qualified guy now. People are entitled to their opinion, and for me this whole thing as an athlete, as a human, everything what people want to doubt or talk and say and comment, to me it’s all just noise… I’ve always been a guy who blocks out noise and picks on it, and that’s what I I plan to do because no matter what I say, no matter what experience I have, I’m always going to be judged on how I perform and how well I can help this team.”
Hughes said he had no doubts St. Louis was the right person for the job.
“I think I described myself as a hockey addict and he described himself as eating hockey,” Hughes said. “I see hockey as Marty sees it. … He always thinks about the game. He has a very analytical mind. …and it’s not just about the Xs and O’s, it’s about the individuals, it’s about the group. I knew he was going to be involved in hockey as soon as he brought his kids to the right time in their lives that he could take that commitment back to the sport because Marty would only ever do it 130%. this time for him, and I think we’re lucky he said yes.”
Video: Martin St. Louis named Canadiens coach
The Canadiens have scored the fewest goals per game in the NHL (2.20) and allowed the most (3.98) under Ducharme. They were 31st (second to last) in powerplay (13.6%) and 30th in shorthandedness (72.6%).
“I don’t mean we’re trying to reset the culture, we’re trying to establish the culture that we’d like to see, and [St. Louis] is the embodiment of that,” Hughes said. “I saw him play when he was a midget, I heard everyone say he couldn’t do it. I saw him play in Hawkesbury (Canadian Junior Hockey League), I saw him play in [the University of Vermont].
“You know, like his mother said, ‘You show them.’ He always has, so it’s time for our team to start showing the hockey community, the Montreal Canadiens fans, that we’re not going to fall here. playoffs this season, but we’re not going to rock it. We want a competitive team. We want a team that brings culture. Marty is the perfect embodiment of what we want to accomplish here, not just this season but next year. ‘to come up.
Ducharme went 23-46-14 in two seasons with Montreal, which is last in the NHL standings (8-31-7) after reaching the Stanley Cup Final last season, when he lost against Tampa Bay in five games.
The Canadiens lost five games to start the season and fired general manager Marc Bergevin on Nov. 28 after a 6-15-2 start. Jeff Gorton was hired as executive vice president of hockey operations that day and hired Hughes, a former player agent, as general manager on January 18.
Hughes said one of his first decisions would be the status of Ducharme, who was promoted after Claude Julien was fired on Feb. 23, 2021.
“Dom is the coach of this team,” Hughes said Jan. 19. the modern coach should be or have in terms of qualities, and I can’t wait to talk to Dom and find out more about him, and eventually we’ll see where things take us from there.”
Ducharme was the fourth NHL coach to be fired this season (Alain Vigneault, Philadelphia Flyers, Dec. 6; Travis Green, Vancouver Canucks, Dec. 5; Jeremy Colliton, Chicago Blackhawks, Nov. 6). Dave Tippett was fired as coach of the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
Paul Maurice resigned as Winnipeg Jets coach on Dec. 17 and Joel Quenneville resigned as Florida Panthers coach on Oct. 28 after being involved in an independent investigation into the Blackhawks for allegations of former Kyle Beach player sexual assault by then-video coach Brad Aldrich. in 2010.
NHL.com Independent Correspondent Sean Farrell contributed to this report