Keeping a low profile

Katie Brickman
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Former Jets coach, Claude Noel enjoys some Telus Cup action

As someone who didn’t shy away from the spotlight, Claude Noel, former coach of the Winnipeg Jets has managed to keep a low profile since departing the team. 

Claude Noel, former Winnipeg Jets coach watches from the bench in this file photo from 2010. Noel was in Moose Jaw to watch some Telus Cup action. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Terry Gilliam

Ten days after being let go by the organization in January, Noel and his wife Lynda escaped Winnipeg and headed to their condo in Phoenix, Ariz. for two months.

“In Winnipeg, you can’t really go out. You are stuck indoors,” said Noel.

Noel is back in Canada, as he and Lynda are preparing to put their Winnipeg house on the market to sell next week.

“When we sell the house in Winnipeg, we will just go live in Phoenix and stay there,” said Noel.

With some off time, he joined friend Brad Berry, assistant coach with the University of North Dakota at Mosaic Place for some Telus Cup action.

“I’m just watching hockey ... not for any purpose other than that,” said Noel, sitting in the stands. “I was in Winnipeg and Barry asked if I wanted to go. I’ve never been to Moose Jaw.”

Like many National Hockey League coaches, the time to watch midget hockey is rare and a national tournament even less.

“The opportunity seldom exists because usually in April, you are playing or doing something related to hockey,” said Noel. “I think it looks good ... good players and good teams.”

Noel did watch the Air Canada Cup, now named the Telus Cup, in 1990 back in his hometown of North Bay.

Although he wasn’t at the tournament to scout any players or teams, he did mention he might pass on some of his opinions of players onto Barry.

“I watch team play, the structure and I look to see how they play and why they play the way they do,” he said. “It is interesting how teams are built, but I don’t know how that works. I don’t know the mechanics of minor hockey. I know the political (side) and some stories I hear from people I know in minor hockey and how much it has changed, but I wouldn’t be able to tell the differences.”

Noel and Berry were at Mosaic Place for all three games on Monday and one game on Tuesday afternoon before heading their separate ways.

Like other coaches, Noel never stops analyzing the game and added some of his own take on what he has seen so far at the tournament.

“I watched three games and I saw some skilled teams that played with puck possession and some teams that had the same skill, but played was less of puck possession and more dump and chase game. I’m not sure why they would do that, since they would have more time and why not maintain more puck control. When you have it, why give it up. That is my own take,” stated Noel.

Noel is only in Moose Jaw for a couple days and will then head to Toronto to be a part of the NHL on TSN panel. This isn’t the first time that TSN has called him to be a part of their on-air broadcasting crew.

“I am just going there for the two days — Friday and Saturday — and then there has been nothing decided past that. We will see where it goes,” said Noel. “I am not trying to change a career. That is not my objective. I just want to go there and learn a little bit.”

Noel doesn’t have any coaching prospects right now, but expects that to change in the NHL off-season. “I have another year on my contract, so it is wait and see if anything comes available and then I will make that assessment when and where it is,” said Noel. “If it is something that interests me ... but that year affords me the opportunity to be a little bit more picky of what I want.”

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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