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Scott Arniel promoted from associate to head coach of the Winnipeg Jets


Scott Arniel came to Winnipeg in 2022 to join the staff of new head coach Rick Bowness.

Two years later, he is replacing his former boss as the Jets’ leader behind the bench.

The Jets announced Friday that Arniel is being elevated from associate to head coach of the NHL franchise. The promotion comes almost three weeks after Bowness announced his retirement.

The Jets said a press conference with Arniel and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will be held Monday.

Arniel helped Bowness lead the Jets to a 98-57-9 record and two playoff appearances over two seasons.

The Jets put together a brilliant regular-season campaign in 2023-24. Bowness was named a finalist for the NHL’s coach of the year award after the Jets posted a 52-24-6 record, good for second in the Central Division and the Western Conference.

But the success did not translate to a post-season run. For the second post-season in a row, Winnipeg was eliminated in five games in the first round, this time at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche.

Arniel has experience leading the Jets’ coaching staff. He filled in for Bowness three times for family and health reasons over the past two seasons. Arniel posted a 15-7-3 record over those stretches, including 10-5-2 this season.

The 61-year-old from Kingston, Ont., got his first experience in coaching as a player/assistant coach with the International Hockey League’s Houston Aeros in 1995-96.

He retired in 1999 after 18 years as a pro player and spent the next two seasons as an assistant coach for the IHL’s Manitoba Moose.

He stepped up to the NHL coaching ranks in 2022 and spent three seasons as an assistant with the Buffalo Sabres before returning to the Moose, now in the American Hockey League, and serving as their head coach from 2006-10, including a trip to the Calder Cup Final in 2009.

Arniel was hired as the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets before the 2010-11 season and was fired midway through the 2011-12 campaign, leaving the team with a 45-60-18 record.

He returned to the AHL as head coach of the Chicago Wolves in 2012-13 before serving as associate coach of the New York Rangers for five seasons (2013-18), helping them reach the Stanley Cup final in 2014.

Arniel was an assistant coach for the Washington Capitals for four seasons (2019-22) before joining Winnipeg.

Arniel was drafted by the original Jets (now Utah) in the second round (22nd overall) in the 1981 NHL draft.

He played his first five seasons with the Jets and returned to Winnipeg for another stint in 1990-91.

The left-winger played 730 games for Winnipeg, the Buffalo Sabres, and Boston Bruins and recorded 338 points (149 goals, 189 assists) and 599 penalty minutes.

   This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2024.

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