BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The Bakersfield Condors, ECHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, announced that J.F. Houle has been named the sixth head coach in team history. Houle replaces Troy Mann, who was named head coach of the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears earlier this month.
Houle, 39, has spent the last four-plus seasons as a head coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey with both Lewiston and Blainville-Boisbriand. In 305 regular season games, the Quebec City, Quebec native has compiled a record of 174-101-30, good for a .617 point percentage. That record includes four consecutive 40-win seasons. In May, his success led to Hockey Canada naming him head coach of one of three Canadian teams at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, a position from which he has resigned in order to coach in Bakersfield.
His past three seasons have been spent in Blainville-Boisbriand where he led the Armada to back-to-back West Division titles in 2011-12 and 2012-13. The team advanced to the third round of the QMHJL playoffs in each of the last two seasons and the second round in 2011-2012.
Prior to his time with the Armada, Houle spent parts of two seasons at the helm of the Lewiston MAINEiacs from 2009-11 after taking over in December of the 2009-10 season. After getting the team in the playoffs in 2010, he them to the third round the following season before losing to eventual QMJHL and Memorial Cup Champion, Saint John.
He began his coaching career at his alma mater, Clarkson University, where he served as an assistant coach from 2003 until accepting the Lewiston position in 2010. With Clarkson, he recruited and coached numerous former Condors including 2010 captain Shawn Wellar, Scott Freeman and Nicholas Tremblay. He was instrumental in bringing 15 NHL Draft picks to Clarkson, including current Winnipeg Jets defenseman Grant Clitsome.
As a player, Houle was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the fourth round (#99 overall) of the 1993 National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft. He went on to play four seasons at Clarkson before turning pro and playing five seasons split between the AHL and ECHL. His best season came in 1997-98 when he recorded 62 points (25g-37a) in 53 games with the ECHL’s New Orleans Brass.
Houle is the son of Réjean Houle. His father was the number one overall pick in the 1969 NHL Entry Draft by the Canadiens, played over 700 games with the club, and went on to win five Stanley Cups.
He and his wife, Mia, have two children: Emma (12) and Noah (10).