CALGARY, AB – The Western Hockey League, in collaboration with the Canadian Hockey League, Prince George Cougars, Edmonton Oil Kings and Hockey Canada, announced today the coaching staff for Team WHL, which will compete against Team Russia at the 2016 CIBC Canada Russia Series.
Moose Jaw Warriors head coach Tim Hunter will call the shots as head coach for Team WHL, while Edmonton Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton will serve as assistant coach.
Working the bench for both games with Team WHL will be Brian Cheeseman, head athletic therapist for the Edmonton Oil Kings. In Prince George, he will be joined by Ramandeep (Chico) Singh Dhanjal, equipment manager for the Cougars, as well as Craig Hyslop, athletic therapist for the Cougars. Rogan Dean, head equipment manager for the Oil Kings, will serve alongside Cheeseman in Edmonton.
Hunter, 56, is in his third season as head coach of the Warriors, carrying a record of 74-64-13-2. In June 2016, he was named an assistant coach on Team Canada staff for the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships. Prior to his time with the Warriors, the native of Calgary was on the bench for 1,089 games as an NHL assistant coach.
Hamilton, 43, is in his third season as head coach of the Oil Kings, amassing a record of 66-72-12-3. Prior to taking over as head coach, the native of Edmonton served four seasons as the assistant and associate coach with the Oil Kings.
Cheeseman is also on staff as athletic therapist for Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Team WHL will face Team Russia in Game 1 of the 2016 CIBC Canada Russia Series in Prince George, B.C. on Monday, November 7, before continuing on to Edmonton for Game 2 on Tuesday, November 8. The Ontario Hockey League will host Games 3 and 4, while the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will welcome the festivities surrounding Games 5 and 6.
The six-game series features regional league teams of Canadian National Junior Team candidates competing against the Russian National Junior Team. For the third straight season, the event will open with two games in the WHL.
Since the event first began in 2003, CHL teams have played to an overall record of 54-18-6 against Team Russia. The competitiveness of the rivalry has grown in recent years with four of the last six series decided in the final game. Russia earned their first series victory in 2010 and have since alternated annual series victories with the CHL who earned the 2015 title by a 12-3 margin in points.
The event is an integral part of the identification process for Team Canada prior to the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. Canada was represented at this season’s World Junior in Finland by 21 CHL players who competed in this series in 2015, while 13 members of Team Russia’s series entry also competed in Helsinki earning a second straight silver medal.
The 2016 CIBC Canada Russia series is supported by CHL associate sponsors Cooper Tire, autoTRADER.ca and Sherwin-Williams. All games will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
2016 CIBC Canada Russia Series Schedule:
Game 1 – Monday November 7 at Prince George, BC
Game 2 – Tuesday November 8 at Edmonton, AB
Game 3 – Thursday November 10 at North Bay, ON
Game 4 – Monday November 14 at Hamilton, ON
Game 5 – Tuesday November 15 at Chicoutimi, QC
Game 6 – Thursday November 17 at Baie-Comeau, QC