Canada’s two teams at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alta., will be led by coaching staffs that can be characterized as a balance of experience and familiarity, with fresh insights.
Returning as Team Canada East bench boss is Patrice Bosch (Granby, LHJQ), a past silver- and bronze-medallist who makes his fifth appearance as a member of the staff. Bosch, whose team finished fifth in 2017, will be supported by assistant coaches Peter Goulet (Kingston, OJHL), who was an assistant coach with Team Canada East in 2013, and Corey Beer (Timmins, NOJHL), who makes his first appearance at the international showcase of Junior A talent. Darcy Findlay, head coach and assistant general manager with the Nepean Raiders of the CCHL, and assistant coach with Team Ontario at the upcoming Canada Winter Games, will join the group as video coach.
For Team Canada West, Rick Swan (Bonnyville, AJHL), 2017 gold-medallist as an assistant coach, takes the reins as head coach when the World Junior A Challenge returns to the home of his Bonnyville Pontiacs in December. Swan is joined behind the bench by Joe Martin (Merritt, BCHL) and Derek Sweet-Coulter (English River, SIJHL), who both won gold with Team Canada West in 2017, and Brandon West (Surrey, BCHL), who was an assistant coach for Team Pacific at the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Jamie McCaig (Spruce Grove, AJHL) returns to Team Canada West as goaltending coach.
“The coaches selected to lead Team Canada East and Team Canada West demonstrate the level of talent and strength we have in those key leadership and mentorship roles within the Canadian Junior Hockey League,” said Brent Ladds, CJHL president. “It’s great to see how most of these coaches began by supporting these teams as selection camp guest coaches, and are now moving forward to joining the tournament staff. Their participation as part of the two Canadian teams at the World Junior A Challenge will not only be beneficial to the players they’ll be working with, but to their club teams as they bring what they’ve learned from each other back home.”
Earlier this spring, the CJHL announced that Kevin Saurette (Manitoba Junior Hockey League) was selected to return as director of operations for Team Canada West, having held that role with the 2017 World Junior A Challenge champions, while Team Canada East welcomes Chris Vanstone (Ontario Junior Hockey League) as its director of operations for 2018.
Bonnyville will host the World Junior A Challenge for the second time in three years at the R.J. Lalonde Arena from Dec. 9-15, 2018. The host committee is looking to emulate the success of the 2016 edition, which was staged by nearly 150 volunteers from in and around the community. Historically, the event has delivered a regional economic impact of more than $3 million.
The World Junior A Challenge is made possible thanks to the partnership between Hockey Canada, the CJHL, and NHL Central Scouting, and features two Canadian teams, representing East and West, as well as four international teams vying for a gold medal. Ten of the 12 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, 2015, and 2017. The team also won silver medals in 2008, 2009, and 2012, as well as bronze in 2013. Team Canada East won silver medals in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2016, as well as claiming the bronze medal in 2008.