MONTREAL — The Winnipeg Jets are bolstering their coaching staff with the addition of Perry Pearn.
Pearn was officially announced on Thursday afternoon and joins the staff of head coach Claude Noel in what represents a homecoming of sorts, since his first NHL job was as an assistant under Jets bench boss Terry Simpson in 1995-96.
“What made it attractive to me is that I didn’t want to leave the first time,” Pearn said during a conference call. “I look at the ownership in Winnipeg and what happened last year, in terms of how the franchise took off again. Why wouldn’t somebody be very, very interested in Winnipeg?”
Pearn, 61,was unceremoniously fired by the Montreal Canadiens on a game-day last season, but brings with him 16 years of NHL experience, along with spending time in the Western Hockey League and working for Hockey Canada on the International stage.
Pearn is well-respected in hockey circles and seems like a good fit with the current staff.
Speaking of that staff, the Jets also announced they’ve extended the contracts of Charlie Huddy, Pascal Vincent, Wade Flaherty, Tony Borgford and St. John’s IceCaps assistant coach Mark Morrison.
Noel was asked about what role Pearn might play and who might be on the bench and who might be moved upstairs, but those are things that will all be worked out at a later date.
“This stuff will all get done in due time,” said Noel. “I know you guys are looking for specific answers to specific things, in those regards, but I think I have to allow for the process to take place a little bit and get a better feel for Perry and exactly what he brings to the table.”
Pearn has worked in a variety of roles, but you’d expect part of his job to include working with special teams, which is an area of strength for him.
“I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to work with some very, very good coaches,” said Pearn, rattling off a list that includes the late Roger Neilson, Mike Murphy, Craig Ramsay, Tom Renney and Jacques Martin. “That ability to understand that every staff is diferent and you need to create chemistry. Roles are always changing. They change for players and they change for coaches. One of my strengths has been to kind of adapt to the people I work with and make sure their strengths were utilized and my strengths were magnified as much as they could be. Hopefully that’s exactly what I bring to the table in Winnipeg.”
Noel and Pearn hadn’t met before their recent meeting, but both men did their due diligence on the other and heard nothing but great things, making this a logical fit for all parties involved.
Pearn has a daughter that lives in Winnipeg and has long-time relationships with both general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (whom Pearn coached) and assistant GM Craig Heisinger.
“People here in our organization know him and he came highly recommended from a lot of people,” said Noel. “The biggest thing that Perry and I had when him and I met and what was very important to me was does he have chemistry to fit in not only with myself, but with our staff down here and the management staff upstairs. Clearly for me, the chemistry was real good. He’s well-spoken, he’s intelligent, he has a lot of hockey knowledge and a lot of hockey experience.”