With the recent announcement of Troy Mann being named head coach of the AHL’s Hershey Bears, the Bakersfield Condors head coaching spot was left wide open. Not anymore, as the team announced Wednesday that former NHL prospect Jean-Francois Houle as their new head coach for the 2014-2015 season.
He becomes the sixth head coach in Bakersfield Condors history and seventh in the Bakersfield franchise history.
Prior to 1998, the team was known as the Bakersfield Fog and was coached by Keith Gretzky. Kevin MacDonald, Paul Kelly, Marty Raymond and Matt O’Dette are others who have coached the Condors in the team’s history.
The Bakersfield Condors are affiliated with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons.
Houle was a left-winger drafted by the Montreal Canadiens 99th overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft.
Despite his being drafted, Houle never played a game in the NHL during his playing career. He spent four years with Clarkson University and went on to split the rest of his playing career between the AHL and ECHL.
He played for the Fredericton Canadiens of the American Hockey League in 1997-98 and 1998-99 and also saw time with New Orleans, Tallahassee and Cincinnati of the ECHL between 1997 and 2002.
After his playing career ended, Jean-Francois Houle went on to begin his coaching career.
He began as an assistant coach at his alma mater from 2003 until 2009.
In the midst of the 2009-10 season, Houle was named head coach of the QMJHL’s Lewiston MAINEiacs, where he served until 2011 when the team folded.
Since then, he’s been head coach of the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. His coaching stint there included three consecutive playoff appearances, including third-round losses in the last two years. Overall, he led the team to the playoffs in all five years of his coaching experience in the Q, whether with Lewiston or the Armada.
Houle also served as head coach of one of three Canadian teams at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge this past May.