Hamilton Bulldogs head coach Guy Boucher has been named the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the American Hockey League’s outstanding coach for the 2009-10 season. The award is voted by coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 29 cities.
In his first season in the professional ranks, Boucher has guided the Bulldogs to a North Division championship and the second-best record in the entire AHL at 51-17-3-7 (112 points).
Hamilton has set numerous franchise records, including most wins and points, and the Bulldogs sit in first in the league in team defence (2.24 goals allowed per game) and third in offence (3.38 goals score per game). Boucher has also seen 17 Bulldogs players skate with the parent National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens with seven making their NHL debuts – including leading scorers David Desharnais, Brock Trotter and 2010 AHL First Team All-Star and All-Rookie defenceman P.K. Subban.
A 38-year-old native of Notre-Dame-du-Lac, Quebec, Boucher is the second youngest head coach currently in the AHL. He joined the Montreal organization on June 29, 2009, after spending the better part of the previous 12 years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, including 2006-09 as head coach of Drummondville. Boucher was an assistant coach for the gold-medal-winning Canadian teams at the 2009 World Junior Championships and the 2008 World U-18 Championships. A graduate of McGill University, Boucher is the fourth head coach in AHL history to win at least 50 games in his first full pro campaign.
“I’ve always believed that coach of the year is an award that belongs to everyone, the assistant coaches, the players, the management, the scouts and the staff, so I am proud to accept this award on behalf of the entire organization,” stated Boucher.
“I am thrilled that Guy’s great work this season has been recognized by his peers. His comprehensive approach to coaching a hockey team allowed him to have a smooth transition into professional hockey and he hit the ground running from the time he was hired last June,” said Hamilton Bulldogs General Manager Julien BriseBois. “His pro-active communication with the players and his personal commitment to helping them grow as players and individuals has been one of the cornerstones to the team’s success thus far this season.”
Boucher is the Bulldogs’ second coach to earn the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award in the franchise’s 14 year history. Claude Julien (now head coach of the NHL’s Boston Bruins) and Geoff Ward were co-winners of the award in the 2002-03 season.
The Louis A.R. Pieri Award, which was first presented in 1968, honours the late Pieri, a long-time contributor to the AHL as the owner and general manager of the Providence Reds and a 2009 inductee into the AHL’s Hall of Fame. Previous winners of the award include Frank Mathers (1969), Fred Shero (1970), Al MacNeil (1972}, 1977), John Muckler (1975), Jacques Demers (1983), Larry Pleau (1987),Mike Milbury (1988), John Paddock (1988), Marc Crawford (1993), Barry Trotz (1994), Robbie Ftorek (1995, 1996), Peter Laviolette (1999), Claude Julien and Geoff Ward (2003), Claude Noel (2004), Randy Cunneyworth (2005), Kevin Dineen (2006), Mike Haviland (2007), Scott Gordon (2008), and Scott Arniel (2009).