Claude Ruel

Claude Ruel (September 12, 1938 February 9, 2015) was a professional ice hockey coach for the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Claude Ruel
Born(1938-09-12)September 12, 1938
Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
DiedFebruary 9, 2015(2015-02-09) (aged 76)
Longueuil, Quebec, Canada
Previous team(s)Montreal Canadiens
Stanley Cup wins1
Years as an NHL coach5

Ruel grew up playing hockey in Sherbrooke. He was considered to be a promising young defensive talent, despite his diminutive stature. However, during a game in 1958, he was struck in the eye by a deflected puck. Following the injury, he was hospitalized for three months, but his eyesight could not be restored.[1]

In the early 1960s, Ruel received his first coaching job, taking a position with the Montreal Junior Canadiens. He became a key part of the Montreal farm system, serving as one of the team's top scouts. He later was elevated to the front office of the NHL club and served as director of player development.

Ruel was hired to coach the Habs in 1968, replacing the legendary Toe Blake. He led a talented group of players to a Stanley Cup championship during his first year. However, the following season, Montreal was the odd team out in a tight, five-team "Original Six" battle for four playoff spots. He started the 1970-71 season behind the bench, but decided to step down 23 games into the season because the pressure of life behind the bench was affecting his health. He subsequently returned to his role director of player development, but he took over as Montreal coach again in 1979, leading the team for one and a half years during the waning days of the 1970s dynasty.[1] Ruel died on February 9, 2015.[2]

Coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPost season
Montreal Canadiens1968–69 764619111031st in EastWon Stanley Cup
Montreal Canadiens1969–70 76382216925th in EastMissed playoffs
Montreal Canadiens1970–71 231184(97)3rd in East(resigned)
Montreal Canadiens1979–80 5032117(107)1st in NorrisLost in Quarter-Finals
Montreal Canadiens1980–81 804522131021st in NorrisLost in Preliminary Round


  1. Bacon, Jack. "Claude Ruel: Helping, Advising and All Heart". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  2. "Former Habs coach Ruel dead at 76". TSN. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
Preceded by
Toe Blake
Head coach of the Montreal Canadiens
Succeeded by
Al MacNeil
Preceded by
Bernie Geoffrion
Head coach of the Montreal Canadiens
Succeeded by
Bob Berry

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