The Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday welcomed back a couple of former NHL players to the organization in off-ice roles.
Dan Lacroix was named an assistant to head coach Michel Therrien while Rob Ramage, who won a Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1993, returns to the team as player development coach.
Lacroix, 45, replaces Gerard Gallant, who left to become head coach of the Florida Panthers. Lacroix spent seven of the past eight seasons as an assistant coach, including this past campaign with the Cup finalist New York Rangers.
While he’s also spent time behind NHL benches with Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders, Lacroix was an assistant with Montreal’s American Hockey League affiliate in Hamilton during the 2009-10 season.
"It's a step up," said Lacroix of his job in Montreal. "It's an opportunity to work for a great organization and with great people."
The Rangers drafted Lacroix in the second round (31st overall) in 1987 and he went on to play 188 NHL regular-season games for both New York clubs, Boston, Philadelphia and Edmonton.
“He has worked as a coach for almost 15 years, including seven seasons as an assistant coach in the NHL,” Therrien said in a statement released by the Canadiens. “He knows the Canadiens organization and his experience at the professional level made him a much-coveted candidate.”
A Montreal native, Lacroix also has coached in the junior ranks, having worked as an assistant for five seasons with the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, who reached the league finals twice during Lacroix’s time with the team.
Lacroix also spent 21 games as Moncton’s interim head coach.
7-year AHL career
He played in the QMJHL from 1986 to 1989 with the Granby Bisons before a seven-year stint in the AHL with Binghamton, Providence, Hamilton and Rochester. In 352 regular-season contests, he collected 213 points.
Lacroix also won a Turner Cup in 2000 with the Chicago Wolves of the International Hockey League.
Ramage, 55, arrives in Montreal after two seasons as an amateur scout with the St. Louis Blues that followed a season working as an assistant coach with the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.
He replaced Patrice Brisebois, who left to spend more time with his family.
The former defenceman recorded 139 goals and 564 points in 1,044 NHL regular-season games from 1979 to 1994 with Colorado, St. Louis, Calgary, Toronto, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Montreal.
Ramage played 21 games over parts of two seasons with the Canadiens, including seven playoff contests in ’93.
The four-time all-star from Byron, Ont., also won a Cup with the Flames in 1989.
“Rob is a dedicated and competent hockey person who will contribute to our player development group,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement.
“Our entire organization, and particularly our young defencemen, will benefit from his experience and his knowledge.”
Ramage spent time in prison after being convicted in 2008 of impaired driving causing death. The charge stemmed form a 2003 car accident in Woodbridge, Ont., that claimed the life of one of Ramage's passengers, former Chicago Blackhawk Keith Magnuson.
Ramage's four-year sentence expired this month.
The Canadiens also announced that Rick Dudley was promoted from assistant GM to senior vice president, hockey operations. Scott Mellanby was promoted from director of player personnel to assistant GM, to work with Larry Carriere.
And Trevor Timmins was appointed vice president of player personnel, while retaining his responsibilities as the Club's director of amateur scouting.