CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), announced Thursday that Mike Reagan, head coach and general manager of the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers, will be head coach of Team Canada West for the 2017 World Junior A Challenge, Dec. 10-16 at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre in Truro, N.S.
Reagan will be joined by Joe Martin (head coach and general manager, Merritt Centennials, BCHL), Rick Swan (head coach and general manager, Bonnyville Pontiacs, AJHL) and Derek Sweet-Coulter (head coach and general manager, English River Miners, SIJHL) as assistant coaches.
“I’m very honoured to be named head coach of Canada West and excited to work with such a great staff,” Reagan said. “These opportunities don’t come around every day and I look forward to the challenge of putting together a team that will compete for a gold medal and make Western Canada proud.”
Mike Reagan, 38, will take over as head coach after serving as an assistant coach with Team Canada West in 2016, and as video coach when Canada West won gold in 2015. He is in his 12th season as head coach of the Flin Flon Bombers, having added GM duties in 2013. Reagan, who played his Junior A hockey with Flin Flon from 1998-2000, has guided the Bombers to the SJHL final in each of the last two seasons.
Joe Martin, 36, was a guest coach for Team Canada West ahead of the 2016 World Junior A Challenge. Recognized as KIJHL Coach of the Year in 2010-11 in his final season with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, Martin has spent the last seven seasons with the Merritt Centennials, and is in his third as head coach and GM. He previously coached in the 2009 CJHL Prospects Game, was an assistant coach for Team Yukon at the 2007 Canada Winter Games.
Rick Swan, 56, will return to Team Canada West for the second year in a row after serving as video coach in 2016. He was also a guest coach at the Canada West selection camp in 2015. A long-time coach in the Hockey Alberta Program of Excellence, Swan also served as head coach of Team West at the 2017 CJHL Prospects Game. Swan is entering his fifth season as head coach and general manager of the Bonnyville Pontiacs, winning AJHL Coach of the Year honours in 2015-16, when he was a finalist for the top coach award in the CJHL.
Derek Sweet-Coulter, 34, has been a guest coach at Team Canada West selection camp in each of the last two years, but will make his tournament debut in Truro. In his third season as head coach and GM of the English River Miners, Sweet-Coulter spent more than a decade as a head coach in Alberta, with Onion Lake (NEAJBHL), Rimbey (HJHL), Strathcona (CapJHL), Edmonton (CapJHL) and Vegreville (NEAJBHL).
Additionally, Hockey Canada, along with the CJHL, Maritime Hockey League (MHL), Hockey Nova Scotia, and the local host committee, announced the three pre-tournament games scheduled for the communities of Amherst and Truro.
All three games will be played Friday, Dec. 8.
· 3:30 p.m. Czech Republic vs. Truro Bearcats RECC Arena Truro, N.S.
· 7:30 p.m. Canada West vs. Russia Amherst Stadium Amherst, N.S.
· 7:30 p.m. Canada East vs. United States RECC Arena Truro, N.S.
Since its inception in 2006, more than 230 NHL draft picks have played in the World Junior A Challenge, including 38 first-round selections (Beau Bennett, Brock Boeser, Alexander Burmistrov, Dennis Cholowski, Joe Colborne, Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers, Dante Fabbro, Nikita Filatov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Denis Guryanov, Tyson Jost, Klim Kostin, Dmitri Kulikov, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Elias Lindholm, Hampus Lindholm, Cale Makar, John Moore, Vladislav Namestnikov, Riley Nash, Valeri Nichushkin, Dylan Olsen, David Pastrnak, German Rubtsov, Ilya Samsonov, Jordan Schmaltz, Nick Schmaltz, Jaden Schwartz, Brendan Smith, Evgeny Svechnikov, Vladimir Tarasenko, Kyle Turris, Alexander Wennberg, Andrei Vasilevski, Jakub Vrana, Nail Yakupov and Jakub Zboril).
Nine of the 11 gold-medal games at the World Junior A Challenge have featured at least one Canadian team. Team Canada West won gold at the first two tournaments, in 2006 and 2007, and also took home gold in 2011 and 2015. It also won silver medals in 2008, 2009, 2012 as well as bronze in 2013.