Marc Habscheid of the Prince Albert Raiders, Andre Tourigny of the Ottawa 67’s, and Mario Pouliot of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies are the 2019 finalists for the Sofina Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award.
Habscheid claimed the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy this year after guiding the Raiders to the franchise’s best season in more than 30 years as the team won its division and finished first in the Western Hockey League with 54 victories and 112 points, including a 19-game win streak that helped the club win 26 of its first 28 games. The year culminated with the Raiders second-ever Ed Chynoweth Cup, and first since 1985, as the club advanced to the CHL championship round for the first time in 34 years. Habscheid has been at the helm of the Raiders since 2015-16.
In 2003, Habscheid took home the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy, in addition to the Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award, after he led the Kelowna Rockets to a 51-win season and the franchise’s first Ed Chynoweth Cup. A native of Swift Current, Sask., Habscheid’s decorated coaching career counts stops with the Raiders, Rockets, Kamloops Blazers, and the Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royals.
Tourigny is this year’s winner of the Matt Leyden Trophy, presented to the OHL Coach of the Year, after he led the 67’s to first place league-wide, including a franchise-record 106 points, while also tying the club’s high-water mark of 50 wins in a season, originally set in 1983-84. On the ice, the 67’s were the top team defensively, allowing just 183 goals, while also finishing second in the OHL with 296 goals for. Ottawa’s dominance continued into the postseason as the club set a league record with 14 consecutive playoff wins.
A native of Nicolet, Que., Tourigny is in his second season with the 67’s after coming over from the QMJHL. He previously spent one season with the Halifax Mooseheads following a 10-year run behind the bench of the Huskies. In 2006, Tourigny was named the recipient of the Ron Lapointe Trophy, awarded to the QMJHL’s Coach of the Year, after he guided the Huskies to a 43-win season to tie the franchise record. That same year he was also a finalist for the Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award.
Pouliot was presented with the Ron Lapointe Trophy as the Coach of the Year after guiding the Huskies to first place in the QMJHL, including 59 victories to set a new league record for single-season wins. The Huskies also tied a CHL-wide record after piecing together 25 consecutive wins, a mark originally set by the QMJHL’s Sorel Éperviers in 1974. This season, Rouyn-Noranda went on to win the President’s Cup as the QMJHL playoff champions, the club’s second title in four years to earn a spot in the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia.
A native of Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., Pouliot is in his first season with the Huskies after he guided the Acadie-Bathurst Titan to the President’s Cup and the Memorial Cup in 2018. He spent four seasons with the Titan following a two-year stint as head coach of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Pouliot is a first-time recipient of the Ron Lapointe Trophy.