Head Moose top 'Nuck

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

It seemed like a matter of when, not if, Alain Vigneault would succeed Crow.

The Vancouver Canucks surprised few Tuesday when Vigneault was hired as the 16th head coach in club history. The 45-year-old Quebec City native fills the spot left vacant after Marc Crawford was fired by general manager Dave Nonis in April.

"Except for my family my friends and my two daughters, hockey's my life and now the Vancouver Canucks are my life," Vigneault said. "I will do everything I can to make sure this team is as successful as it can be."

Canucks finished ninth in the Western conference and missed the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Vigneault replaced Randy Carlyle as head coach of the American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose last season when Carlyle was hired by ex-Canucks' general manager Brian Burke to be bench boss for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

"I know this group might not have met expectations but there's a solid group here," Vigneault said, adding, "there are some things that are going to be done personnel wise."

Vigneault guided the Canucks' Winnipeg-based farm team to a 44-36 record (including seven overtime and five shootout losses) for third place in the North division during 2005-2006. Grand Rapids Griffins eliminated Manitoba from playoffs in the seventh game of the North division final.

Vigneault was an assistant coach of the Ottawa Senators from 1992 to 1996 and then was hired as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens in 1997. He helmed the team to a 109-113-39-5 record, but was fired in 2001.

Vigneault was an assistant coach when Canada won the World Junior Hockey Championship in 1991 and had a 13-year head coaching career with four teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.


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