CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada has unveiled its plan for the 2017-18 Canada’s National Men’s Team, which includes an expanded schedule that will see the red-and-white take to the ice in at least seven international tournaments.
As part of the highly anticipated release of the season’s plans, Hockey Canada also announced the National Men’s Team’s management group and coaching staff. Joining Tom Renney (Cranbrook, B.C.), Hockey Canada’s CEO, Scott Smith (Bathurst, N.B.), president and COO of Hockey Canada, and the organization’s vice-president of hockey operations and national men’s teams, Scott Salmond (Creston, B.C.), on the management group are the team’s general manager Sean Burke (Windsor, Ont./Montreal, NHL), as well as management group member Martin Brodeur (Montreal/St. Louis, NHL).
Behind the bench, Hockey Canada has selected Willie Desjardins (Climax, Sask.) as head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Team. He will be joined by assistant coaches Dave King (Saskatoon, Sask.), Scott Walker (Cambridge, Ont./Vancouver, NHL), and Craig Woodcroft (Toronto/Genève-Servette HC, NLA).
“This is an exciting time for Hockey Canada and for our National Men’s Team program, and it will be an exciting season for Canadian hockey fans,” said Renney in regards to this year’s schedule. “The goal is always to field the best possible team in all upcoming competitions, including this February when we hit the world’s biggest sporting stage in Pyeonchang. The faces on our Team Canada rosters may be different than in previous years, but the expectations will be the same; with the addition of Sean, Martin, Willie, Dave, Scott, and Craig, we have assembled some of the best hockey minds out there to help us meet those expectations of on-ice success.”
Burke, a professional scout with the Montreal Canadiens, has international experience in management with Canada’s National Men’s Team that includes a silver medal as assistant general manager at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, as general manager of the 2016 Spengler Cup championship-winning team, and two IIHF World Championship gold medals, as director of player development in 2016, and as part of the management group in 2015. He was also general manager of the 2016 Deutschland Cup. Burke is Canada’s all-time goaltending leader in games played (35), minutes played (1,991), and wins (21) at the IIHF World Championship – an event at which he won two gold and two silver medals in five appearances as a player. A two-time Olympian (1988, 1992), Burke won silver at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France, and is an IIHF World Junior Championship silver-medallist from 1986 in Hamilton, Ont.
Brodeur transitioned from his NHL playing career into management during the 2014-15 season where he played seven games with the St. Louis Blues and was special assistant to the general manager. He was named assistant general manager of the Blues in advance of the 2015-16 season. A three-time Stanley Cup champion, his NHL playing career also saw him awarded the Vezina Trophy four times as the league’s best goaltender, and Brodeur is also a Calder Trophy winner and took home the Jennings Trophy five times. Brodeur represented Canada in international competition eight times, having won the World Cup of Hockey in 2004, two Olympic gold medals (2002, 2010), and two silver medals in IIHF World Championship competition (1996, 2005).
Salmond has been with Hockey Canada since 2001, serving in his current position of vice-president of hockey operations and national teams since June 2014. In this position, Salmond oversees all operations of Canada’s national men’s teams for the Olympic Winter Games, IIHF World Championship, IIHF World Junior Championship, and IIHF U18 World Championship, as well as the sledge hockey program at the Paralympic Winter Games and IPC World Para Hockey Championship.
Desjardins returns to Team Canada following coaching roles with the Dallas Stars, the Texas Stars of the AHL, where he led the team to its first Calder Cup in 2014, and the Vancouver Canucks. A Memorial Cup winner with the Medicine Hat Tigers in 2004, Desjardins was assistant coach of the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship gold-medallists, and led the team to a second consecutive world junior gold medal in 2010 as head coach. Desjardins was also an assistant coach with Canada’s National Men’s Team in 1998-99, including at the 1999 IIHF World Championship.
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 won silver at the 2017 IIHF World Championship as assistant coach, was head coach of Team Canada at the 2016 Deutschland Cup, and associate coach with the 2016 Spengler Cup champions.
Walker played for Canada’s National Men’s Team during the 1992-93 season, and at three IIHF World Championships, winning silver in 2005. He was an assistant coach with Canada’s National Junior Team at the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2012 (bronze) and 2015 (gold), and won gold as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2012 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka. Walker was also head coach of Team Canada White at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, capturing gold, and won gold as assistant coach of Canada’s National Sledge Team at the 2017 International Para Hockey Tournament. He was named a player development consultant with the Vancouver Canucks in 2015, and spent parts of five seasons (2010-2015) as head coach of the OHL’s Guelph Storm.
Woodcroft played 63 games with Canada’s National Men’s Team from 1988 to 1994, winning a bronze medal at the 1990 Goodwill Games. He is entering his first season as head coach of Genève-Servette HC of the NLA after leading the Dinamo Minsk of the KHL as head coach during the 2016-17 season. Woodcroft was an assistant coach for Belarus at the IIHF World Championship in 2015, 2016, and 2017. He spent parts of two seasons (2014-16) as an assistant coach with Adler Mannheim (DEL), winning the league championship in 2015, before taking over as head coach late in the 2015-16 season. His NHL experience includes two seasons as a skill development coach with St. Louis, and two years as director of rookie development camp with Nashville.
Canada’s National Men’s Team will also be supported by the following team staff:
- Video coach Tyler Dietrich (West Vancouver, B.C./Hockey Canada);
- Mat Sells (Calgary/Hockey Canada) supporting advance pre-scout and analytics;
- Dr. Jim Thorne (Calgary/Hockey Canada);
- Therapists Morris Boyer (North Battleford, Sask./Hockey Canada) and Jeff Thorburn (Dalhousie, N.B./Hockey Canada);
- Massage therapist Andy Hüppi (Jona, SUI/Hockey Canada);
- Equipment managers Bryan Boyes (Oshawa, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) and Robin McDonald (Didsbury, Alta./Hockey Canada);
- Bayne Pettinger (Victoria, B.C./Hockey Canada), manager of hockey operations and men’s national teams;
- Kaite Doyle (Sudbury, Ont./Hockey Canada) as coordinator of hockey administration; and
- Mark Halliday (Montreal/Hockey Canada) for media relations.
Canada’s National Men’s Team kicks off the 2017-18 season with events in Russia in August – the Sochi Hockey Open Aug. 6-9, and the Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov in St. Petersburg, Aug. 14-17.
“These first two events allow us to continue a player evaluation process that began last season with our Deutschland Cup and Spengler Cup teams,” said Salmond, noting the players on the two Russian event rosters were not an exhaustive list. “We will continue to look at the best available players to us – these two tournaments being the next opportunity to see some of the talent we can select from.”
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