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March 13, 2008

Claude Julien Traded For Jacques Demers

Earl McRae of the Ottawa Sun has an interesting article about Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien.

Like so many coaches, Julien was once a forgettable defenseman, clinging to minor league paychecks and a childhood dream. He did get into 14 NHL games as a player, but it is safe to say he has been much more successful as a coach. Believe it or not, this man pictured to the right is Claude Julien, some 25 years ago and with a lot more hair.

McRae bumped into Julien on a recent Bruins road trip into Ottawa. The two apparently go way back, which allowed Julien to let his guard down for this interview perhaps more than he would for other scribes.

He gets into his career as a player, and how he was told he would make the St. Louis Blues roster in 1983 only to have a front office cleaning clear out the coach and GM who were high on him.

Soon enough Julien would be shuffled along too, in one of the most unusual trades in NHL history. Julien and tough guy Gord Donnelly were shipped to Quebec in exchange for not a player or players, but rather coach Jacques Demers.

"Red Berenson had just retired as Blues coach," said Julien. "It was unusual, being traded for a coach, but I didn't make a big issue of it. I looked at it as a new opportunity with the Nordiques. At least I wasn't traded for a team bus like happened with a player in the Western League."

You can read the full story at the Ottawa Sun website.

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