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Lumberjacks part ways with head coach John LaFontaine

By Scott Bradford, 04/23/18, 10:00AM EDT

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MUSKEGON, MI- The Muskegon Lumberjacks will not renew the contract of head coach John LaFontaine, general manager John Vanbiesbrouck announced Monday.

“John is a tremendous person and good developer of talent,” said Vanbiesbrouck. “We wish him nothing but the best.”

LaFontaine, a native of Pontiac, MI, was hired before the 2016-17 season and amassed a regular-season record of 70-43-7 (.613) in two seasons behind the Lumberjacks’ bench. The Jacks’ record of 37-18-5 in 2016-17 set a team record for wins and points in a single season.

LaFontaine became the first head coach to guide Muskegon to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, but failed to win either playoff series he coached in the USHL. In the 2017 playoffs, the Jacks fell to the Dubuque Fighting Saints in four games (five-game series); in 2018, Muskegon won game one, but eventually fell in three games to the Chicago Steel in a first-round, best-of-three series.

“We will work hard toward the draft, our camps, and finding the best person to lead us into the future,” said Vanbiesbrouck.

Vanbiesbrouck, who just completed his fifth year as Muskegon’s GM, will retain assistant coach Josh Nelson, video coach Mike Hamilton and goaltending coach Dave DeSander.

Vanbiesbrouck and the Jacks now look ahead to the USHL draft. Phase I is scheduled for May 7, with Phase II the following day, May 8.