Former Winnipeg Jets bench boss Claude Noel is now coaching the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants, the same team current Jets forward Evander Kane played his junior hockey for.
The topic of what it was like for Noel to coach Kane in Winnipeg was brought up on TSN Radio in Vancouver on Friday, as the Giants coach joined the afternoon show.
Kane’s off-ice actions – taking and posting photos of him with giant amounts of cash – have been fodder for the media for years. Trade speculation has also followed him around during his time in Winnipeg.
Noel, who the Jets fired last season, made some interesting points, including the microscope players in Winnipeg, a smaller but fervent hockey market, are constantly under.
He also called the 23-year-old Kane, the fourth overall pick in 2009, a “dynamic player.”
“Evander was a little bit of a challenge,” said Noel, who the Giants officially announced as their new coach on Nov. 30.
“He’s a young guy when we got him. He was on the Twitter world a little bit so that was a little bit of a challenge. I really didn’t have a lot of problems with Evander. I mean, Evander can be a real good player and Winnipeg’s a fairly small, passionate town, smaller city.
There, people … well, you’re under a microscope, especially when we first got there. If you went sideways on a few things, it was all over the place so it was pretty overwhelming for a lot of players. Coming from Atlanta, it really opened your eyes.
“But he’s a guy that can be a real impact player. I know they’re critical of some of the things he does. I’m hoping that’s a maturity thing that eventually he gets a little bit better at. But I didn’t really have a real … we had a few issues, there’s no doubt, but nothing really major for me. I think that’s just part of coaching in the national league.”
Kane, with four goals and 10 points in 20 games this season, was recently given a two-game suspension for boarding Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner.