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Arniel takes charge as Blue Jackets head coach

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Columbus Blue Jackets named Scott Arniel as head coach of the struggling National Hockey League team on Tuesday.

Arniel, who spent four the past four seasons coaching the American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose, replaces interim coach Claude Noel.

"Scott Arniel possesses all the qualities we were looking for in a head coach and we are very pleased to have him join the Blue Jackets organization," Columbus general manager Scott Howson said on the team's website (http://bluejackets.nhl.com).

Arniel, 47, played in the NHL from 1981-92 with the Buffalo Sabres, Winnipeg Jets and Boston Bruins. He was an assistant coach with Buffalo for three seasons before going to Manitoba.

He takes over a Columbus team that finished second-last in the NHL's Western Conference last season after making the playoffs the in the prior season.

"I've been impressed by a lot of what I see here," he said after signing a three-year contract with Columbus. "I see myself as a young coach and this is a young, talented team with great potential. I am ready to get to work."

Noel took over as interim coach in February after Ken Hitchcock was fired.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)