By: Daniel Vazzoler
The Carleton Place Canadians are pleased to announce the hiring of Marc Lafleur as the new assistant coach for the team.
“Joining probably, the most successful Jr A program of the last six or seven years is something I’m proud of,” said Lafleur. “At the same time, it’s a new challenge and I think you need those every now and then. Hopefully I can make the best of it.”
The Hearst, Ont. native joins the Canadians after eight seasons as a head coach in the NOJHL with the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners and the Hearst Lumberjacks. During his time in Northern Ontario, Lafleur amassed a career record of 230-132-42 during the regular season and won two playoff titles – once in 2014 with Kirkland Lake and in 2019 with Hearst just three years after the team joined the NOJHL.
This won’t be the first time Lafleur stands alongside Jason Clarke behind a bench as the two of them represented Team Canada East at the World Jr A Challenge twice together, Lafleur heading a third time again as assistant coach.
The newest member of the Canadians coaching staff admits that experience sparked interest between he and Clarke joining forces, but it was family that sparked the timing of the move.
“My wife, who’s a physiotherapist, had the opportunity to come back home. She’s originally from this area and the opportunity came up last December for her to come back to her roots. We had always talked about that as well, so she made the move,” while Lafleur was still coaching in Hearst.
“When this happened, I found the last three months of the year to be very long. I wasn’t around my kids, who are six- and three-years-old, as well as with the wife. So, I had a decision to make, did I want to continue to be 11 hours away from my family, and it was a little too far away for me.”
Lafleur and Clarke had success together behind the bench at the World Jr A Challenge as the pair helped lead Team Canada East to a silver medal performance at the 2015 tournament.
But success can only be part of the factor. For Lafleur, he said there was immediate chemistry between the two coaches. He says his coaching style and thoughts on how a team should play are very similar to Clarke’s – something that should make fitting into his new role easier.
“We know how each person is going to react, I know what to expect out of a Jason Clarke run team as well and the quality of the players (he brings in),” Lafleur explained. “Because of that, the adjustment won’t be as difficult as if I came here blindly.”
Despite the wealth of coaching experience he has, this will be Lafleur’s first time as an assistant coach at the Jr A level but he did spend parts of two seasons as an assistant with Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL which came nearly a decade ago.
“Obviously I’ll have to adjust to being an assistant again but I’ve got to be myself. What’s made me successful in the past is being myself, but that doesn’t stray away from the qualities Jason is looking for, not only in players but in coaches too,” Lafleur said. “I have to keep doing what I do, keep expressing myself the same way with the players.”
Lafleur will be running the defensive end of the bench with Steve Maxwell returning to run the offence for Clarke.
The need to bring in a new coach was created by Jamie Rintoul opting to move away from behind the bench to focus more on family life and his career outside of hockey. Rintoul has been a part of the Carleton Place organization dating back to the Jr B Kings days when, as an 18-year-old, he volunteered to be an equipment manager for the team.
Since then, Rintoul saw his role develop into becoming the video coach of the team before ultimately coming onto the bench as an assistant coach. Rintoul will continue to be a part of the coaching staff as he will be on the ice for practices when he is available.
The Canadians organization would like to thank Jamie for his time and commitment to the team and to the players he has helped develop both on and off the ice in order to make the Carleton Place Canadians as successful as we have been able to be.