J.J. Daigneault has been named the new head coach of the Halifax Mooseheads.
The 12th head coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise’s history, the former Montreal Canadiens assistant takes over following the departure of Eric Veilleux, who left in June to join the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch after one season in Halifax.
“I’m really grateful, happy and excited that Cam and Bobby chose me to be the next head coach of this storied franchise,” stated Daigneault in a release.
The 53-year-old Daigneault spent six seasons as an assistant with the Canadiens from 2012 to 2018, and was in the St. Louis Blues system with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage last season.
“I’m very excited about this hire. J.J. was a high-end defenceman in our league and in the NHL, which will be of tremendous value to the development of our players. He brings a wealth of coaching experience from the AHL and NHL level and he is a quality individual,” said Mooseheads owner Bobby Smith.
The Montreal native enjoyed a 17-year NHL career with 10 teams that saw him play in 899 career games and score 250 points. He was a member of the 1993 Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens.
Daigneault and Smith were teammates in Montreal during the 1989-90 season.
“I’m very happy to welcome J.J. to the organization and we are fortunate to be getting a coach of his stature and background. Our players will benefit greatly from his experience and knowledge of the game,” general manager Cam Russell said.
As a player, Daigneault led Longueuil to consecutive President Cup Finals and earned the QMJHL’s defenceman of the year award in 1982-83. He was inducted into the QMJHL Hall of Fame in April.
The Mooseheads begin training camp Aug. 14 and will open the preseason schedule Aug. 18 against Cape Breton at the Zatzman Sportsplex in Dartmouth.