After six seasons in Shawinigan and winning 45 games this past year, Eric Veilleux won't be back in Shawinigan …Amid speculation of a future National Hockey League job, it was announced Wednesday afternoon that Shawinigan Cataractes head coach Eric Veilleux will not return to coach the team this fall.
La direction des Cataractes confirme que l'entraîneur-chef Éric Veilleux ne sera pas de retour avec l'équipe.
— Roberge Jonathan (@J_Roberge) June 13, 2012
Loose translation mine: 'Cataractes management confirms that head coach Eric Veilleux won't come back with the team next season'.
Veilleux, who was behind the bench for the Memorial Cup Champions, probably has more on his mind than another QMJHL head coaching vacancy. After all, what more is there left to prove at the major junior level? While his name hasn't been attached to an NHL head coaching job since Bob Hartley and Michel Therrien were hired in Calgary and Montreal respectively, there is still talk of an associate gig.
A report last week in the Calgary Herald speculated that Veilleux may end up alongside Hartley with the Flames, and it's not like it's new territory for a successful junior coach to jump onto an NHL bench—Dave Cameron went from the Mississauga-St. Michael's Majors to the Ottawa Senators last summer, while it seems like every summer there's a call for Windsor's Bob Boughner to exit the OHL and join an NHL team desperately in need.
Veilleux, of course, played two seasons with the Laval Titan in the early 1990s, back when Hartley was coaching the team and they went to the Memorial Cup. The pair re-surfaced together a couple years later with the Cornwall Aces in the AHL. Veilleux, now 40, took his first coaching spot with the Cataractes six seasons ago as one of the younger coaches in the system right now.
As for what his departure means for Shawinigan, well, the team appears to be breaking up after their dominant run this season. Michaël Bournival, Kirill Kabanov, Brandon Gormley and Morgan Ellis, key players in the team's Cup win, are all off to play pro in the fall. The team has already traded away Anton Zlobin and Alex Dubeau. The departure of their coach was the next domino to fall, and this will be a wildly different club at Centre Bionest next season.
We'll get an update on the Shawinigan situation when general manager Martin Mondou meets with reporters Thursday morning.