CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada announced Monday that Guy Boucher, former head coach of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, has been named head coach of Canada’s national men’s team for the 2014 Spengler Cup tournament, which will be held in Davos, Switzerland, Dec. 26-31.
Boucher is the fourth McGill University graduate in the past year appointed by Hockey Canada to coach a national team, joining Canadian Olympic coach Mike Babcock (B.Ed ’86), recently-appointed national junior team assistant coach Martin Raymond (B.Ed ’90, M.Ed ’96) and Kelly Nobes (B.Ed ’97, M.Ed ’01), who just returned from a head coaching stint at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge in Sarnia, Ont. Raymond also played for the bronze medal-winning Team Canada squad at the 1991 Spengler Cup.
Boucher, a 43-year-old native of Notre-Dame-du-Lac, Que., who was raised in Montreal’s West Island suburb of Roxboro, Que., is currently in his first full season as head coach of SC Bern of the Swiss National A League, having taken over on Jan. 27, 2014. Aside from his NHL stint with the Lightning from 2010 to 2013, he guided AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs in 2009-10.
During his playing days, he was a centre with the McGill Redmen, under head coach Jean Pronovost from 1991 to 1995. Boucher, who served as captain in his final season at McGill, recorded 71 goals and 183 points in 141 career games overall. He graduated in 1995 with an arts degree, majoring in history and environmental biology. In 1995-96, Boucher played pro in France for Viry-Essonne where he scored 16 goals and 38 points in 28 games.
He then returned to Canada to complete a science degree in agricultural engineering at McGill and studied sports psychology at the University of Montreal. During that time, he cut his teeth as an assistant at McGill under head coach Martin Raymond for one season (1996-97) before moving on to serve as an assistant to Jean Pronovost with the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (1997-2000). Boucher then took over as head coach with the Lac St. Louis Lions of the Quebec Midget AAA hockey league. Three seasons later, he returned to the QMJHL, where he was an assistant coach with the Rimouski Océanic from 2003 to 2006. He was appointed bench boss of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs in 2006 and won the Paul Dumont Trophy in 2008-09, awarded to QMJHL’s personality of the year.
In 2009, Boucher took over the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, the Montreal Canadiens’ top minor league affiliate. He led Hamilton to an impressive 52-17-11 record for 115 points and won the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award as coach of the year. In 2010, he was appointed bench boss of the Lightning, leading the team to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in his first year. He registered a 97-78-20 record over two-plus seasons with Tampa Bay and was dismissed by the team on March 24, 2013 after the Lightning struggled in the lockout-shortened season with a 13-18-1 record.
Boucher has also worked with Team Canada and was an assistant to Pat Quinn at the 2009 world junior championship at which Canada won gold. He also was an assistant three times for Canada’s under-18 national team in 2006, 2007 and 2008, winning gold in his last appearance.
Joining Boucher behind the bench at the Spengler Cup will be assistant coach Serge Pelletier, a 48-year-old Montrealer who returns as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the Spengler tourney for the second year in a row. He has been coaching in Switzerland since the 1989-90 season, first serving as head coach of HC Lugano’s under-20 hockey program for eight years. Since then, Pelletier has been a coach in the National League A, with HC Lugano, HC Fribourg-Gottéron, EV Zug and HC Ambri-Piotta, and is in his 16th season coaching at that level. The 2014-15 season is his sixth season with HC Ambri-Piotta, over two stints.
The coaching staff for the 2014 Spengler Cup was assembled by Canada’s national men’s team management group, led by Steve Tambellini along with Craig Heisinger and Scott White.
“We’re excited about the staff we’ve got in place for the Spengler Cup,” said Scott Salmond, vice-president of hockey operations and national teams with Hockey Canada. “Guy is very familiar with Hockey Canada, Serge knows this tournament extremely well, and together with our management group we’re looking forward to getting on the ice in Davos next month.”
“Guy and Serge are tremendous coaches who have found success wherever they’ve gone,” said Tambellini. “We’re thrilled they’ve agreed to join our staff for the Spengler Cup, and we can’t wait to name a roster that will make Canadians proud in Davos.”
Canada has appeared in 10 of the last 13 championship games at the Spengler Cup, winning the tournament in 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2012. Overall, Canada has won the Cup 12 times (1984, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2012) since first taking part in 1984.
Canada will be part of the Cattini Group at the 2014 Spengler Cup, opening the tourney Dec. 26 against host HC Davos. The loser of that game faces KHL Medvescak Zagreb of Croatia on Dec. 27, while the winner takes on the Croatian side on Dec. 28.
For more information on Canada’s national men’s team, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca, or follow along via social media at www.facebook.com/hockeycanada, www.twitter.com/hockeycanada and www.twitter.com/hc_teamcanada.
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