The new Winnipeg NHL franchise has taken another step in the formation of their team for the 2011-12 season.
General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has announced Claude Noel will become the new team's first head coach.
Noel coached the AHL's Manitoba Moose last season, guiding them to a 43-30-7 record with a playoff run to Game 7 of the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs.
In addition to his time with the Moose, Noel previously coached the Columbus Blue Jackets as an interim coach in 2009-10 for 24 games with a 10-8-6 record. He also coached in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals from 2003-04 to 2006-07, making the Calder Cup finals twice in 2004 and 2006, winning the Calder Cup in 2004.
He has also coached as a head coach in the ECHL and with Michigan in the IHL as well as being an assistant in Milwaukee in the IHL.
Noel played seven games in the NHL with the Washington Capitals in 1979-80 but played most of his time in the AHL and IHL with stops in Hershey, Toledo, Kalamazoo and Milwaukee before becoming a coach.
With the release of the NHL schedule, Noel now knows what the test for his team is this season, with the season opener against Montreal, a New Year's Eve battle with Toronto and a game against Phoenix December 1.
The new team will start their preseason on September 20 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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