Canadiens head coach St. Louis takes indefinite leave for family reasons

Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis will be absent from the NHL team indefinitely for family reasons.

The Canadiens made the announcement Saturday just over an hour before the team played the Flames in Calgary, and at the start of a five-game road trip.

Assistant coach Trevor Letowski stepped in as head coach in Calgary. He will serve in that position during St. Louis' absence, the club said.

St. Louis has coached the Canadiens to a 25-30-0-11 record in his third season at the helm. Montreal ranked seventh in the Atlantic Division on Saturday.

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 and helped Canada win an Olympic gold medal in men's hockey in 2014.

St. Louis was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.

Letowski made his head-coaching debut in Calgary.

The 46-year-old from Thunder Bay, Ont., is in his third season as Montreal's assistant coach.

He was previously the head coach of the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2024.

The Canadian Press