Blue Jackets Name Pascal Vincent As Franchise's Next Head Coach

By Coby Maeir on September 17, 2023 at 4:29 pm
New Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent

Pascal Vincent is the new Blue Jackets head coach.

The club announced Sunday that Vincent signed a two-year deal through the 2024-25 season to take over from Mike Babcock, who had resigned just 78 days after he was hired. 

“Pascal Vincent is an outstanding coach,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in the team's statement. “He knows our players and organization and is respected by everyone here.  He was a strong candidate for our head coaching position several months ago and is in the best position to help us navigate this change as we begin camp and lead our team moving forward.” 

Vincent will be the 10th full-time head coach in the franchise's history and is set to begin on-ice training camp activities on Thursday.

“This is a difficult day, but I am looking forward to this opportunity and appreciate the organization’s confidence in me to lead this team,” Vincent said in the team's statement.  “We have a great group of guys that have been working very hard to prepare for the season. My focus will be to work with our staff to help them get better every day and be ready for what we believe will be an exciting season.”

Vincent has spent the past two seasons as the Blue Jackets’ associate coach after being a candidate for their head-coaching vacancy in 2021 before they hired Brad Larsen. Before joining the Jackets, the 51-year-old Laval, Quebec, native spent 10 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets organization, first as an assistant coach from 2011-12 to 2015-16 before serving as head coach of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose from 2016-17 to 2020-21. In 2017-18, he was named the AHL’s coach of the year, leading the Moose to a 42-26-8 record and their only playoff appearance in his five seasons at the helm, where he posted a record of 155-139-31 (.526 PTS%). 

Before his time with the Jets, Vincent spent 12 seasons in the QMJHL. From 1999-2000 to 2007-08, he served as the head coach of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and was also the club’s general manager starting in 2001-02. In 2007-08, he was named the QMJHL’s Coach of the Year. From 2008-09 to 2010-11, he was the head coach and general manager for the Montreal Juniors. In 770 regular season games throughout his time in the QMJHL, Vincent coached his teams to a record of 407-278-33-52 (.584 PTS%), making the playoffs in all 12 seasons. 

Throughout his time in Columbus, Vincent has been in charge of the team’s power play, which finished 24th (18.6%) in 2021-22 and 26th (18.3%) in 2022-23. However, the club boasted the league’s third-best power play (27.5%) in March 2023. 

Vincent is the fourth full-time head coach and second in-house hire by Kekalainen since he became the club’s general manager in 2013, after hiring John Tortorella in 2015 and Larsen in 2021. 

After three straight seasons without playoff hockey, pressure is on Kekalainen, Vincent, and company to get the Blue Jackets back to the postseason.

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