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San Diego Gulls return to hockey in front of fans, new head coach

The team and new coach Joel Bouchard return to San Diego for their home opener October 22 to face the Stockton Heat.

SAN DIEGO — It's been a long time since fans were able to cheer on their San Diego Gulls in person - but hockey fans will get that opportunity this month as the team returns to play at Pechanga Arena, and when they do so a new head coach will be in charge.

The Gulls open their season on the road on October 16 against the Ontario Reign. The team returns to San Diego for their home opener October 22 to face the Stockton Heat. 

Joel Bouchard was announced as the new head coach of the Gulls on July 9.  According to the announcement made by the team, Bouchard, 47, spent the past three seasons as the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens' primary development affiliate in Laval, guiding the club to an 83-67-24 record. He led the Rocket to a 23-9-4 record in 2020-21, winning the Canadian Division while posting the second-highest points percentage in the AHL (.694).  

“The opportunity to bring in Joel Bouchard as head coach of our American Hockey League club was something that we could not pass up. Joel has a strong track record coaching and developing players at the professional, junior and international level. This is the primary focus for us, and Joel fits the bill perfectly,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray.

Bouchard also played in 364 NHL games in his career with 8 different teams. Selected by the Calgary Flames in the sixth round (129th overall) of the 1992 NHL Draft, Bouchard played in 364 career NHL games with Calgary, Nashville, Dallas, Phoenix, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh and New York Islanders, recording 22-53=75 points. 

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