by Francis Dupont
March 20, 2014, CALGARY, Alta. (ISN) – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), announced Thursday that Kevin Dineen (Toronto, Ont.) will be the head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team for the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, April 17-27 in Lappeenranta and Imatra, Finland.
Hockey Canada also announced that Trevor Letowski (Thunder Bay, Ont.), head coach of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, and Gord Murphy (Willowdale, Ont.) will work with Dineen as assistant coaches.
Kevin Dineen, 50, was most recently head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Team, winning a gold medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Prior to working with Team Canada, he was head coach of the NHL’s Florida Panthers for parts of three seasons (2011-13), winning the franchise’s first-ever Southeast Division title in 2011-12. He was also head coach of the AHL’s Portland Pirates for six seasons (2005-11), winning the AHL’s coach of the year award in 2005-06. As a player, Dineen represented Canada on six occasions, winning silver medals at the IIHF World Championship in both 1985 and 1989, and winning the Canada Cup in 1987. He also represented Canada at the world championship in 1987 and 1993, and at the 1984 Olympic Winter Games. He played 19 NHL seasons from 1984-2003 with Hartford, Philadelphia, Carolina, Ottawa and Columbus.
Trevor Letowski, 36, will serve on a Team Canada coaching staff for the first time. He has spent the past four seasons on the coaching staff of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, spending three seasons as an assistant coach (2010-13) before taking over as head coach prior to the 2013-14 season. As a player, Letowski represented Canada twice in international competition; he won a gold medal with Canada’s National Junior Team at the 1997 IIHF World Junior Championship, and finished fourth at the 2000 IIHF World Championship. He appeared in 616 games over 13 NHL seasons with Phoenix, Vancouver, Columbus and Carolina.
Gord Murphy, 46, will serve on a Team Canada coaching staff for the first time. He served as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Florida Panthers for parts of three seasons (2010-13) after spending eight years (2002-10) in the same role with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. As a player, Murphy made one appearance with Team Canada, finishing sixth at the 1998 IIHF World Championship. He played 14 NHL seasons from 1988-2002 with Philadelphia, Boston, Florida and Atlanta.
“Representing Canada at any level is a great honour and a tremendous challenge,” said Dineen. “I am excited to work with Trevor and Gord, and assemble a team that will make Canada proud at the world championship.”
Canada’s coaching staff, along with Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada’s head scout of the men’s Program of Excellence, will help select Canada’s roster for the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship from players whose CHL teams either missed the playoffs or are no longer competing in the playoffs.
Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, including the under-18 program, is overseen by a management group comprised of Joël Bouchard (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL), Sean Burke (Phoenix, NHL), Bruce Hamilton (Kelowna, WHL) and Mark Hunter (London, OHL). This group works 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.
The Program of Excellence policy committee, comprised of Hockey Canada president and CEO Bob Nicholson, Hockey Canada chief operating officer Scott Smith, OHL commissioner and CHL president David Branch, QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau, WHL commissioner Ron Robison, and Hockey Canada officers Joe Drago (Sudbury, Ont.) and Michaël Brind’Amour (St-Charles-Borromée, Que.) sets the direction of the program.
Canada is a three-time gold medallist at the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, winning in 2003, 2008 and 2013.
The 2014 IIHF Hockey U18 World Championship opens for Canada on April 17 when it faces Sweden. Canada will also face Germany, Slovakia and Russia in the preliminary round.
TSN/RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, will broadcast Canada’s final preliminary round game against Russia on April 22, as well as both semifinals on April 26 and both medal games on April 27. Check your local listings for game times in your area.
For more information on Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team and the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, 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.