Dominique Ducharme’s improbable Cup run earns him Canadiens head coaching job

It was a Cinderella run that ended in a 5 game defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but interim head coach Dominique Ducharme earned his stripes.

The Montreal Canadiens named him their permanent head coach on Tuesday after he led the team to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1993.

Ducharme was named interim head coach on Feb. 24, 2021, following the dismissal of Claude Julien. After the unexpected run through the playoffs, the franchise rewarded Ducharme with a three-year contract extension through the 2023-24 season.

Financial terms were not announced.

Dominique Ducharme Canadiens head coach

canadiens head coach
May 31, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme watches play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in game seven of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Ducharme. 48, led the team to a 15-16-7 record to conclude the regular season.

At 24-21-11, the Canadiens had the fewest wins of any of the 16 teams to qualify for the playoffs. After defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games in the first round, Montreal swept the Winnipeg Jets and defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in six games in the semifinals.

The Tampa Bay Lighting won their second straight Stanley Cup, defeating Montreal in five games.

“Dominique has managed to set his system in place and establish himself as a head coach in a very unusual season with challenging circumstances,” general manager Marc Bergevin said in a news release. “While our team has gone through its fair share of adversity, he has shown a lot of control over the situation as well as showing calm and great leadership. These are important qualities that we look for in a head coach and he fully deserves the chance to lead our team and take it to the next level.”

Ducharme joined the Canadiens coaching staff in April 2018 after spending 10 seasons in the QMJHL, leading the Halifax Mooseheads to the title in 2012-13. He also guided Team Canada to a gold medal in 2018 in the IIHF World Junior Championship following a silver medal in 2017.

–Field Level Media