Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Luke Richardson gives instructions during a break in play during NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey semifinal action against the Vegas Golden Knights in Montreal, Sunday, June 20, 2021. The Canadiens have agreed to a three-year contract extension with Richardson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Canadiens sign assistant coach Luke Richardson to three-year extension

Canadiens sign assistant coach Luke Richardson to three-year extension

MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens have agreed to a three-year contract extension with assistant coach Luke Richardson, the club announced Wednesday.

The Canadiens confirmed the signing one day after promoting Dominique Ducharme to full head coach and signing him to a three-year contract extension. Ducharme had been serving as interim head coach after replacing the fired Claude Julien on Feb. 24.

The 52-year-old Richardson was instrumental in helping the Habs reach the Stanley Cup final, taking over the bench at a crucial moment when Ducharme was forced into isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Richardson made his head coaching debut in Montreal’s 3-2 overtime win over Vegas in Game 3 of the semifinals and remained in charge for the Canadiens’ six-game upset win over the Golden Knights.

He oversaw Montreal’s first two games of the Cup final in Tampa, Fla., before Ducharme returned for Game 3 in Montreal. The Lightning ended up defeating the Habs in five games.

Richardson joined the Canadiens’ coaching staff as assistant coach in 2018, after four seasons as an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders.

He also led Canada to Spengler Cup titles in 2016 and 2017, and coached the Senators’ AHL affiliate to a 153-120-31 record over four seasons from 2012 to 2016.

A native of Ottawa, Richardson was chosen seventh overall in the 1987 NHL entry draft and played 21 seasons in the league. Over stints with Toronto, Philadelphia, Columbus, Tampa Bay and his hometown Senators, he recorded 201 points and served more than 2,000 penalty minutes.

In a news conference Sunday after the announcement, Richardson said he was honoured to be a part of the Habs’ franchise and excited to continue in the assistant role under Ducharme.

“This year, we almost got to the final stage and that’s the Promised Land. I would love to be a part of this team to get them back to where they should be, as champions of the league,” he said.

“That’s why I’m here. I like to win. Montreal wants to win. It’s a good combination.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

NHL