June 26, 2013, (ISN) – Hockey Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Wednesday a number of changes to the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence including the naming of Kelowna Rockets President/GM Bruce Hamilton to help manage Team Canada’s World Junior Hockey Team.
Hamilton has been named to a management group that will oversee hockey operations for Hockey Canada’s men’s Program of Excellence. Hamilton, along with Joël Bouchard (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL), Sean Burke (Phoenix, NHL) and Mark Hunter (London, OHL) will work directly with Hockey Canada to oversee operations of Hockey Canada’s World Junior Team as well as its under-17 and under-18 programs.
Hamilton’s immediate roll will be to work directly with World Junior Hockey team head coach Brent Sutter in preparation for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, scheduled for Dec. 26, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014 in Malmö, Sweden.
“It’s an honour for me to get this opportunity and it’s quite a thrill to be recognized like this,” said Hamilton, 55, the owner, president and general manager of the Rockets, a franchise he started in Tacoma, Wash., in 1991.
Hamilton has led the Rockets to four Memorial Cups, winning in 2004 as the host team. Hamilton, originally from Saskatoon, Sask., is the WHL’s chairman of the board, a post he has held since 2008 after previously holding the position from 1998 to 2004.
Over the course of the past few months, Hockey Canada, under the leadership of president and CEO Bob Nicholson and COO Scott Smith, did a full overview of the Program of Excellence, which led to the changes and structure being announced Wednesday.
The management group will be working directly with Hockey Canada vice-president of hockey operations and national teams Brad Pascall (Coquitlam, B.C.) and senior director of hockey operations and national teams Scott Salmond (Creston, B.C.) to oversee operations of the under-17, under-18 and under-20 programs.
In addition to the management group, Hockey Canada also announced that Ryan Jankowski (Calgary, Alta.) has been named head scout of the men’s Program of Excellence, replacing Kevin Prendergast.
Hockey Canada also announced significant changes over the next two seasons to the under-17 program. In 2014-15, the under-17 program will include a first ever national under-17 camp, and will go from five regional teams to three national teams at the 2015 World Under-17 Challenge. In preparation of these changes, Hockey Canada will be hiring a scouting staff for the under-17 program over the coming months.
For more information on Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca, or follow along through social media at www.facebook.com/hockeycanada, www.twitter.com/hockeycanada and www.twitter.com/hc_men.