Dominique Ducharme is one of the best coaches not with a National Hockey League organization. And he’s looking to go into the professional ranks.
While his qualifications make him an option for any American Hockey League team, he should be a no-brainer for the Laval Rocket.
Ducharme was in the running for the head coach of the Rockford Ice Hogs, the Chicago Blackhawks’ AHL affilate just about a year ago. He has been the head coach of Canada’s World Junior team for the last two years and has had a ton of success in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with both the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Halifax Mooseheads.
On top of his success, he brings a lot of familiarity with players currently in the Habs organization. He won a Memorial Cup with Halifax in 2012-13 on a team that included Jonathan Drouin and Zach Fucale. He coached Victor Mete and Noah Juulsen at the last two World Junior championships.
His experience as coach and general manager of the Voltigeurs over the last two years, and working with Team Canada, gives him a unique perspective on Junior prospects in a year where the Canadiens have a bunch of early draft picks and it is a strong draft year for the QMJHL, including coaching top centre prospect Joe Veleno.
Ducharme has been coaching for a while, and started his QMJHL career as an assistant coach with the Montreal Juniors in 2008-09. Ironically, two other potential names being talked about for the Laval opening, Pascal Vincent (currently the coach of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose) and Joel Bouchard (coach and GM of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada), were on that staff.
The big thing Ducharme brings is success. The Rocket (or IceCaps or Bulldogs) have been sputtering for a while and a coach with not only experience, but winning experience, would be a great addition.
The fact is that an NHL organization will hire Ducharme this summer. The Rocket - and Canadiens - have an opportunity to bring a Quebec-born and groomed coach into the organization with a championship pedigree. They should not let this opportunity slip through their grasp.
The organization has provided their AHL team with top-notch facilities. They should now surround them with a top-notch staff.