(ISN) – CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Tuesday the Program of Excellence management group for the 2015-16 season.
As part of the management group, Joël Bouchard (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL) will continue to support the under-17 program, including the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Dale DeGray (Owen Sound, OHL) will support the under-18 program, including the 2015 U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, and Tim Speltz (Spokane, WHL) will support the under-20 program, including the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The management group will work directly with vice-president of hockey operations and national teams Scott Salmond, director of player personnel Ryan Jankowski, and senior manager of hockey operations/men’s national teams Shawn Bullock, to oversee operations within the Program of Excellence, assisting with the selection of coaches and players, supporting coaching staffs and providing day-to-day input during camps and events.
The Program of Excellence policy committee, comprised of Hockey Canada president and chief executive officer Tom Renney, 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 chairman Joe Drago (Sudbury, Ont.), remains in place to oversee direction of the program.
“This is a management group filled with success at the CHL and international levels, and these three individuals bring a great deal of experience and insight to the Program of Excellence,” said Salmond. “We would also like to thank Sean Burke, Bruce Hamilton and Mark Hunter for their contributions over the past two years as the Program of Excellence went in a new direction and continued to develop.”
Joël Bouchard, 41, has been president and general manager of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada for the past four seasons, and took over as head coach in August 2014 after three seasons as an assistant coach. The Montreal, Que., native played 15 professional seasons, including parts of 11 seasons in the National Hockey League with eight teams. Bouchard represented Canada three times internationally as a player, at the IIHF World Junior Championship in 1993 and 1994, and the 1997 IIHF World Championship, winning a gold medal each time.
Dale DeGray, 51, has been general manager of the Owen Sound Attack since 2007, winning an OHL championship in 2011, the same year he was named OHL Executive of the Year. The Oshawa, Ont., native played 153 NHL games with Calgary, Toronto, Los Angeles and Buffalo during a 15-year professional career that also included stops in the CHL, IHL and AHL. DeGray represented Canada once, winning a bronze medal at the 1995 IIHF World Championship.
Tim Speltz, 56, has been general manager of the Spokane Chiefs since 1990, winning WHL championships and Memorial Cup titles in 1991 and 2008, and spent two seasons as general manager of the Medicine Hat Tigers from 1988-90. The Medicine Hat, Alta., native was named WHL Executive of the Year in 1995-96 and 1999-2000, and assisted the Program of Excellence management group at the 2014 U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, helping Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team win a gold medal.