Former and longtime Lac St. Louis Lions Midget AAA head coach and West Island native Jon Goyens could be just the type of coach to continue the outside the box trend that the Montreal Canadiens have been making with their hockey operations and coaching staff since January.
On Saturday, my partner-in-crime at Montreal Hockey Now, Marco D’Amico opined that the departure of assistant coach Luke Richardson, who took over the head coaching duties for the Chicago Blackhawks is the perfect opportunity for the Montreal Canadiens to continue to think outside the box both on and off the ice. The Canadiens surprised the NHL world when they hired longtime NHL player agent Kent Hughes to replace Marc Bergevin as general manager and then Hughes stunned the NHL world when he hired former NHLer Martin St. Louis, who had only coached as an assistant at the pee-wee level, as the new head coach of the Canadiens, replacing Dominique Ducharme.
So if the Canadiens once again decide to buck the trend of recycled veteran coaches or even AHL coaches getting hired as NHL assistants, why not Goyens, who after a successful coaching career developing players for Lac St. Louis and a year in the QMJHL as head coach of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, is a coaching free agent looking to get another shot.
“I can tell you this, Jon is a bright hockey mind with an open-minded approach with his players on and off the ice,” one NHL amateur scout said recently. “He could fit with the up-tempo style of Marty and loves to push the pace.”
Over 20 of Goyens former players with the Lions went on to get drafted into the NHL and some like Jonathan Drouin, Anthony Duclair, Mike Matheson, Louis Domingue and likely soon, Joe Veleno, have gone on to be regulars at the NHL level. Goyens, regularly consults with NHL executives, coaches, and scouts has a solid grasp on up and coming Quebec-based players.
“Regardless of the level I’ve been playing at, Jon has always been able to help me improve my game while giving me the confidence to take the tools he teaches me and implement them into my game,” Matheson said Goyens.
Longtime NHL Draft analyst and former Calgary Flames general manager Craig Button, who recently joined the Montreal Hockey Now Podcast to talk about the 2022 NHL Draft, raved about Goyens.
“Jon sees the potential in individuals. Having that vision is important but he also sees what the possibilities can be for the individual,” Button said. “He is both diligent in working to enhance the individual’s potential but also keenly aware there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. His understanding of what works for each individual is outstanding. He tailors a plan that is personalized but also incorporates a connection to the team. One without the other does not maximize potential.
Jon is very patient and recognizes there is no specific timelines for development. Because he’s so thorough and complete, his approach doesn’t lead to frustration as the individual and group grows but to a belief they will ultimately be better equipped to achieve their goals. It is a collaborative exercise where he values the efforts and inputs of everybody. Jon is open minded, determined, smart and always looking to be better. He sees the best possibilities in people, teams and in the purpose to reach the highest goals.”
Factor all that into the fact that Goyens grew up on and still resides on the West Island so he knows the hysteria around the Montreal Canadiens and the market, he could fit right in.