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John LaFontaine joins Lumberjacks

07/13/2016, 9:15am CDT

Muskegon Lumberjacks announced that they have hired 2016 NAHL Coach of the Year John LaFontaine.

The Muskegon Lumberjacks announced today that John LaFontaine has been named the fourth head coach in team history, effective immediately. LaFontaine replaces Todd Krygier in Muskegon after three seasons.


LaFontaine, a native of Pontiac, MI, joins the Lumberjacks following two seasons with the Wichita Falls Wildcats (NAHL). LaFontaine was named the 2015-16 NAHL Coach of the Year and led the Wildcats to the Robertson Cup Final after setting a team record for wins in a season.


“I’m ecstatic and excited to be coming back to Michigan and the challenge of joining the USHL,” said LaFontaine. “I really enjoy getting to work with the players who have high potential, and am excited to help them reach their goals.”


LaFontaine’s coaching career began in 1992 where he spent time as a coach with Compuware (HPHL), Lake Superior State University (NCAA) and the Soo Indians (NAHL). Prior to coaching in Texas, LaFontaine spent seven years at Shattuck St. Mary’s (USHS) where he coached 2016 USHL Player and Forward of the Year Rem Pitlick.


Pitlick was recently selected by the Nashville Predators in the 2016 NHL Draft and is expected to return to Muskegon next season, along with incoming forward Andrei Svechnikov.  


“I cannot wait to join the team and help bring excitement to Muskegon,” said LaFontaine.


2016-17 marks the seventh USHL season for the Lumberjacks organization. In six seasons Muskegon has made Clark Cup Playoffs three times, including a Clark Cup Final appearance during the 2014-15 season.


“We make this move with a heavy heart, but believe this is the right move for the development of our players,” said Muskegon Lumberjacks owner Dan Israel. “We are passionate about Muskegon, our position in the hockey community, and look forward to building the best organization in junior hockey.”


Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16.  A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.

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