After 10 seasons and two Stanley Cup titles with the Blackhawks, veteran goaltender coach Stephane Waite is leaving Chicago to join the Montreal Canadiens.
Waite helped Blackhawks goalies Corey Crawford and Ray Emery earn the Jennings Trophy last season with the best goals-against average in the NHL. In 2010, he helped develop Antti Niemi as the Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup title in 49 years.
Waite, who joined the Hawks during the 2003-04 season, was hired away from Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, a former Blackhawks assistant GM who took the top job at Montreal in May 2012.
"Stéphane Waite has over 30 years of experience as a goaltending coach, including the past 10 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks organization," Bergevin said in a statement. "He contributed to two Stanley Cup championships with the Blackhawks during his tenure working closely with two different goaltenders, namely Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford. We are very pleased to welcome Stéphane in our organization. He has a vast experience, and a thorough knowledge of our local market and we are convinced that our goaltenders will benefit from his expertise and his work ethic."
Blackhawks vice president/general manager Stan Bowman, who has been busy re-signing key players this week, praised Waite's contributions to the club.
"We would like to thank Stephane for his 10 years of service with the Blackhawks organization and the quality of work he put in with many goaltenders over that period of time. We wish him and his family the best in his new position," Bowman said.
After finishing last in 2012, the Canadiens finished with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference this past season, posting an impressive 29-14-5 mark behind Pittsburgh. But Montreal faded in April, with a 7-7 record down the stretch, and then lost 4-1 in the first round of the NHL playoffs to Ottawa.