Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis rejoins team after personal leave

Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis looks on during practice in Brossard, Que., Wednesday, January 18, 2023. (Graham Hughes/CP)

Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis is returning to the NHL team’s bench for Tuesday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.

St. Louis had been away from the team since March 16 for family reasons.

The Canadiens say St. Louis’ 16-year-old son, Mason, suffered an injury while playing in a hockey game. Mason experienced injury complications a week later and was hospitalized.

Mason’s condition has since stabilized and he is recovering at the St. Louis family home in Connecticut, the Canadiens say.

“Everyone within the Canadiens organization has been very supportive of my wife Heather and me as we fully focused on our son Mason and his recovery from a hockey injury,” St. Louis said in a statement. “As parents, nothing is more important to us than our three sons, Ryan, Lucas, and Mason.”

Assistant coach Trevor Letowski stepped in as head coach with St. Louis away.

The Canadiens went 1-1-2 in four road games in their head coach’s absence.

“We appreciate the Canadiens organization, our fans, and the hockey community for understanding and supporting us through Mason’s injury and recovery. I would like to extend a special thank you to the doctors and nurses that cared for him during this time,” St. Louis said. 

“I’d also like to thank everyone for respecting my family and our privacy, and I ask to please maintain a focus on the Canadiens team and the remainder of the 2023-24 season.”

The Canadiens are 15th in the Eastern Conference standings with a 26-32-12 record in St. Louis’ third season.

St. Louis replaced Dominique Ducharme as Montreal’s head coach Feb. 9, 2022. Montreal signed St. Louis to a three-year contract extension in June 2022.

He played more than 1,300 NHL games for the Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers.

The 48-year-old from Laval, Que., won a Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004, helped Canada win an Olympic gold medal in men’s hockey in 2014 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.

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