Beaulieu, Spitfire link denied

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

Jacques Beaulieu is staying put, at least for now.

A rumour making the Ontario Hockey League rounds has the London Knights assistant coach as a candidate for the Windsor Spitfires head coaching job.

That position has been the centre of controversy this year since the suspension and eventual firing of coach and general manager Moe Mantha over the Akim Aliu/Steve Downie, fighting/hazing incident. D. J. Smith and Bill Bowler are co-coaches of the Spitfires.

Beaulieu is under contract to the Knights and any contact between clubs would have to be approved by the Knights.

"I haven't heard anything," Beaulieu said. "I guess it's a rumour going around."

Steve Riolo, the Spitfires owner, said he hasn't contacted anyone and hasn't asked Knights general manager Mark Hunter for permission to speak to Beaulieu.

"That's all this is, is a rumour," Riolo said. "I have no comment to make.

"I'm happy with . . . coaching staff right now and we're going to finish the season with the present coaching staff. We'll reassess at the end of the year."

The Knights' success has given Beaulieu and the other assistant, Jeff Perry, a lot of profile. When this season ends, chances are coaching opportunities will arise for both Beaulieu and Perry.

But the more success the Knights have, the greater the odds of head coach Dale Hunter making the jump to professional hockey at some level. It might be the right time to leave the retooling of the team to someone else.

That would leave a plum coaching job vacant for either Perry or Beaulieu.

"This is the first I've heard about it," Mark Hunter said. "No one's asked me for permission."


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