CALGARY, Alta. – The coaching staff is now in place as Team Canada prepares to compete at the 2017 IIHF World Championship in Paris, France, and Cologne, Germany.
Jon Cooper (Prince George, B.C./Tampa Bay, NHL) has been named head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Team in his first stint with Hockey Canada. Cooper will be joined behind the bench by assistant coaches Gerard Gallant (Summerside, P.E.I.), Dave Hakstol (Drayton Valley, Alta./Philadelphia, NHL), and Dave King (Saskatoon, Sask.).
The coaching staff was selected by members of the management group, announced earlier this month: general manager Ron Hextall (Brandon, Man./Philadelphia, NHL); assistant general manager Sean Burke (Windsor, Ont./Montreal, NHL); director of player personnel Larry Carrière (Montreal/Montreal, NHL); and Scott Salmond (Creston, B.C.), vice-president of hockey operations and national teams with Hockey Canada.
“Canada has tremendous depth in both its player and coaching pool, and we are fortunate to welcome a blend of experience and new faces to our program for this year’s IIHF World Championship,” said Tom Renney, president and CEO, Hockey Canada. “This is always an exciting event that brings Canadian hockey fans together to cheer on the red-and-white, and our players have four talented coaches and leaders in this group to work with and learn from.”
Cooper joined the Tampa Bay Lightning midway through the 2012-13 season as head coach – a position he holds to this day – following two-and-a-half seasons in the AHL with the Norfolk Admirals and Syracuse Crunch. He was an assistant coach for Team North America at last fall’s World Cup of Hockey and guided the Lightning to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2015. Cooper has also held head coaching positions for teams in the CSHL, MWEHL, NAHL, and USHL.
Gallant was an assistant coach with Team Canada at the 2007 IIHF World Championship, and was assistant coach alongside Cooper with Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Gallant has coached the better part of 13 seasons in the NHL with Columbus, the New York Islanders, Montreal, and most recently Florida, and spent three seasons – 2009-12 – as head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs, winning back-to-back QMJHL championships (2011, 2012) and the Memorial Cup in 2011. His Summerside Western Capitals won the 1997 Royal Bank Cup with Gallant as head coach.
Hakstol just completed his second season as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers following 15 seasons in coaching roles with the University of North Dakota (NCAA). Hakstol also spent three-and-a-half seasons as head coach of the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. During his playing career, Hakstol wore the ‘C’ for UND, and played for the Indianapolis Ice and Minnesota Moose in the IHL. He was named the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) Most Outstanding Defenceman in the 1988-89 season.
King’s international coaching career got its start in 1982 with two medals – a gold at the 1982 IIHF World Junior Championship, and bronze at the 1982 IIHF World Championship. He followed that up with a bronze medal at the 1983 IIHF World Junior Championship before becoming Team Canada’s full-time head coach in 1983-84 – a role he held until 1992-93 when he accepted an NHL head coaching role with the Calgary Flames. King won a silver medal with Canada at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games, and was also behind the Team Canada bench at the 1999 IIHF World Championship. King has held a variety of roles in the NHL, SHL, and KHL since 1992, and was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame Builder category in 2000-2001. Most recently, King was head coach of Team Canada at the 2016 Deutschland Cup, and associate coach with the 2016 Spengler Cup champions.
Team Canada management, staff, and players will gather in Geneva, Switzerland, for a pre-tournament camp, which includes a tune-up game on May 2 against the Swiss.
Canada opens the 2017 IIHF World Championship against the Czech Republic on Friday, May 5, with preliminary-round games scheduled through Tuesday, May 16. The bronze- and gold-medal games will take place on Sunday, May 21.
Team Canada has won gold at the last two IIHF World Championships, going undefeated during the 2015 tournament, and blanking Finland 2-0 in the gold-medal game in 2016.
Since 1931, Canada was won the world championship 20 times – not counting the years when Olympic Winter Games champions were also considered world champion. The country has also collected 11 silver medals and six bronze in that timespan.