THE CANADIAN PRESS
HAMILTON — The Hamilton Bulldogs will have a new coaching staff next season.
It was reported Monday that Don Lever, the American Hockey League franchise’s longest-serving head coach, and his assistant Ron Wilson were fired by the NHL parent club Montreal Canadiens last week.
Neither were given any reason for their dismissal.
Montreal general manager Bob Gainey phoned them both and said "the organization is going in a different direction."
Lever said he would like to have at least been given a reason for his dismissal.
"I’m very disappointed," said Lever, who was hired in 2005. "Somewhere along the line, I must have done something wrong, but they didn’t tell me what it was.
"I just don’t understand how I can be called up and then discarded."
After Gainey fired Habs head coach Guy Carbonneau late in the season, he summoned Lever to Montreal.
Wilson, hired as assistant coach in 2003, was appointed interim Bulldogs head coach on March 9. They went 10-3-2-0 in the final 15 games and overtook Grand Rapids to finish second in the North Division, but lost to the Griffins in a six-game divisional semifinal.
"I’m very disappointed," said Wilson. "But that’s hockey. They’re making changes at the top and at the bottom, too."
Montreal assistant general manager Julien BriseBois didn’t go into specifics about why the two won’t be back.
"It wasn’t an easy decision, but we felt it was the right one for our prospects and organization going forward," he said.
The firings are the latest in a series of changes within Montreal organization. Jacques Martin was named the Canadiens new head coach earlier this month and owner George Gillett reached an agreement in principle Saturday to sell the team to the Molson family.
(The Hamilton Spectator)