Mooseheads looking for head coach again as Veilleux joins AHL’s Crunch

Former Halifax Mooseheads head coach Eric Veilleux looks on from the bench during Game 6 of the President Cup Final against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. (Vincent Ethier/QMJHL Images)

The Halifax Mooseheads are searching for a new head coach for the fourth straight year after Eric Veilleux accepted an assistant coaching job Wednesday with the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch.

Veilleux joined the Mooseheads last summer and led them to a 49-15-4 record and appearance in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s President Cup Final where they lost to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

Halifax hosted the Memorial Cup in May and Veilleux’s squad reached the championship game where they once again lost to the Huskies.

Veilleux said he’s excited to return to pro hockey where he coached in the ECHL and AHL between 2014-18.

“Halifax will forever hold a special place in my heart,” he said in a statement. “I leave my position with a heavy heart as I had the luxury of coaching in front of the best fans in the Q.”

Since Dominique Ducharme left his head coaching position with the Mooseheads following the 2015-16 season, Halifax has hired a new coach every summer.

Andre Tourigny coached the team in 2016-17 before leaving for the Ottawa 67’s, Jim Midley was behind the bench in 2017-18 before being let go by the franchise which then led to Veilleux’s hiring.

Mooseheads owner Bobby Smith said Veilleux was the right coach at the right time for his team.

“He guided the Mooseheads to a 100-point season, victories over three excellent teams in the playoffs and a Memorial Cup that almost ended in our second championship,” Smith said. “Our players benefitted from his passion and talent.”

Veilleux joins a QMJHL-heavy Crunch staff led by head coach Benoit Groulx, whose son Benoit-Olivier Groulx plays for Halifax. Assistant coach Gilles Bouchard was also a successful bench boss in the QMJHL with Rouyn-Noranda.

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