RETURN OF EXISTING MEMBERS FUELS CONSISTENCY FOR 2016-17 HOCKEY CANADA PROGRAM OF EXCELLENCE MANAGEMENT GROUP
CALGARY, Alta. – Consistent in its make-up, Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence management group will see some members shifting into new focus areas heading into the 2016-17 season.
Dale DeGray (Oshawa, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL) shifts from the under-18 program to support under-17, while Joël Bouchard (Montreal, Que./Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL) moves from under-17 to work alongside a returning Tim Speltz (Medicine Hat, Alta./Spokane, WHL) to support the under-20 program, including at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Management group selections are made by Hockey Canada in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).
“Our Program of Excellence management group plays a key role in working with our hockey operations and men’s national teams staff to ensure we are preparing our teams and athletes to perform their best in every possible situation,” said Scott Salmond, vice-president of hockey operations and national teams, Hockey Canada. “We are putting together teams with a focus on bringing home gold – each and every time. Our management group is a key contributor to our ability to successfully execute on our mandate, and it’s a testament to the strong partnership we have built with the CHL that we are able to tap into excellence at all levels to the benefit of our national team coaches and players.”
The management group works directly with Salmond as well as Ryan Jankowski, director of player personnel, and Misha Donskov, manager of hockey operations, analytics and video for Hockey Canada to oversee operations within the Program of Excellence, including the selection of coaches and players, supporting the coaching staff, and providing day-to-day input during camps and events.
Joël Bouchard has been president and general manager of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada for the past five seasons, and took over as head coach in August 2014 after three seasons as an assistant coach. Bouchard played 15 professional seasons, including parts of 11 seasons in the National Hockey League with eight teams. He 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 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. DeGray 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 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. Speltz 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.
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.