Jackets to name Arniel coach

Scott Arniel has been named as the new head coach for the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets. (Brian...

Scott Arniel has been named as the new head coach for the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets. (Brian Donogh/QMI AGENCY)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

Scott Arniel is the new head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

After spending the past four seasons as head coach of the Manitoba Moose, the 47-year-old from Kingston, Ont. was offered the position on Monday and accepted the offer later that day.

The Blue Jackets have called a 2 p.m. CT news conference where they will make the move official.

It’s expected Arniel has signed a three-year deal to replace Claude Noel, who was 10-6-1 as the interim head coach after taking over for Ken Hitchcock late last season.

Arniel could not be reached for comment on Monday and Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson offered a “can’t comment” when asked in an e-mail to confirm the news.

During his four seasons as bench boss, Arniel posted a record of 181-105-10-19 and guided the Moose within two victories of their first Calder Cup title in franchise history in the spring of 2009.

Arniel has extensive experience as a professional player (including 730 NHL games) and also spent three seasons as an assistant coach under Lindy Ruff with the Buffalo Sabres before taking over from Alain Vigneault (who was promoted to the Vancouver Canucks) in the summer of 2006.

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Nolan Baumgartner believes Arniel is ready to make the jump.

“I think he’s going to do very, very well there,” Baumgartner said Monday night. “Guys have to look at the fact he played with some pretty good players and he learned from those players and he’s taken that into his coaching career and has passed that along to other players.

“Guys at the next level should realize this guy has played in the league and he’s been there (as an assistant coach). He knows the ins-and-outs.”

Arniel was the first to interview for the Blue Jackets vacancy and was also the first brought back for a second interview, but he had to wait patiently after Howson offered the job to Hamilton Bulldogs head coach Guy Boucher.

After mulling over the offer, Boucher eventually declined and decided to remain within the Montreal Canadiens organization.

Shortly thereafter, the Blue Jackets offered the position to Arniel and negotiations didn’t take long to complete.

An ability to communicate with players — an essential tool in today’s NHL — is one of Arniel’s biggest strengths.

“He knows how to handle guys,” said Baumgartner. “Some guys need to be kicked in the butt and some need to be coddled a bit. He knows how to address those type of players and how to get through to guys. He’s honest with you. He’ll bring you into the office and tell you things that will make you a better player. He doesn’t beat around the bush and he tells it like it is. It’s coming from his heart and that’s how he coaches. Another one of his strengths is that he’s very organized.”

As for the team Arniel is leaving behind, Moose general manager Craig Heisinger — who was unavailable for comment Monday — told reporters during his year-end meeting with the media that he already had an active list of hypothetical candidates, should Arniel move on.

Now that he has, the Moose should also expect to hear from a few surprise candidates as well.

Keith McCambridge, who joined the Moose as an assistant coach last season, will be among the front-runners to replace Arniel.


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