Lemaire to Head Wild

Monday, June 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Jacques Lemaire, a Hall of Fame player with a Stanley Cup on his resume as a coach, was hired Monday as the first coach of the expansion Minnesota Wild.

Lemaire, who coached the New Jersey Devils to the NHL championship in 1995, agreed to a multiyear contract.

Terms were not disclosed.

"Jacques is a coach with strong teaching abilities, who has been very successful at the NHL level," general manager Doug Risebrough said.

"He will teach the fundamentals of playing and winning."

Lemaire, 54, played with Risebrough in Montreal for eight seasons.

He spent the last two seasons as a consultant to Canadiens general manager Rejean Houle.

"This is a great opportunity for me to build a team and a tradition of excellence for the Minnesota Wild organization,"Lemaire said.

"(Risebrough) and I share the same commitment and patience necessary to develop young players and we understand the devotion required to win the Stanley Cup."

Lemaire, who was known for an effective but dull neutral zone trap defense, coached the Canadiens from 1983-85 and the Devils from 1993-98.

He played his entire 12-year career with the Canadiens, winning eight Stanley Cups, and played on a line with fellow Hall of FamersGuy Lafleur and Steve Shutt.

Lemaire coached the team for the last 17 games of the 1983-84 season and the entire 1984-85 season before moving to the front office.

Montreal won two more Cups, in 1986 and 1993, while Lemaire was an assistant GM. \

He joined the Devils in 1993 and was selected the league's coach of the year in 1994, before leading the club to its first championship in 1995.

The expansion Wild start play in October in St. Paul.