Hockey Canada will be working with a trio of National Hockey League management veterans when Canada’s National Men’s Team heads to Kosice and Bratislava, Slovakia, for the 2019 IIHF World Championship, set for May 10-26.
Jason Botterill (Winnipeg/Buffalo, NHL) will make his front-office debut with Hockey Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, alongside Ron Francis (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), who was a co-general manager for Team Canada at the 2018 Spengler Cup, and Ron Hextall (Brandon, Man.), who served as general manager at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.
“We are excited to welcome these three gentlemen and their extensive experience in the NHL and international hockey, both as general managers and players,” said Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. “We know Jason, Ron and Ron will represent our country with a tremendous amount of pride, and we look forward to working with this group as we set our sights on bringing home a gold medal at the 2019 IIHF World Championship.”
Botterill is in his second season as general manager of the Buffalo Sabres. Prior to joining the Sabres, he spent 10 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he helped the team capture three Stanley Cups (2009, 2016, 2017). He served as director of hockey administration (2007-09), assistant general manager (2009-14) and associate general manager (2014-17), as well as general manager of the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins from 2009-17. As a player, Botterill is the only player to win three-consecutive gold medals at the IIHF World Junior Championship (1994, 1995, 1996).
Francis represented Canada just once during his playing career, winning a silver medal at the 1985 IIHF World Championship. A two-time Stanley Cup champion (1991, 1992), 2007 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players, he retired following the 2003-04 season as one of the highest-scoring players in NHL history – Francis ranks second all-time in assists (1,249), fourth in games played (1,731) and fifth in points (1,798). He spent 12 seasons in management with the Carolina Hurricanes, serving as executive vice president of hockey operations and general manager from 2014-18.
Hextall served as executive vice-president and general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers from 2014-18, having rejoined the organization in 2013 as assistant general manager and director of hockey operations. Prior to that, Hextall logged seven seasons as vice-president and assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Kings, where he helped the team capture the Stanley Cup in 2012. He also served as general manager at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, was a member of the management group at the 2014 IIHF World Championship and competed as a player at the 1992 IIHF World Championship. A goaltender during his playing career, Hextall appeared in 608 games, amassing 296 wins, and helped the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup Final in 1987 and 1997.
Canada opens the 2019 IIHF World Championship at Steel Arena in Kosice on Friday, May 10 against Finland at 10:15 a.m. ET, with preliminary-round games scheduled through Tuesday, May 21. The full tournament schedule will see Canada take on Great Britain, Slovakia, France, Germany, Denmark and the United States in the preliminary round before the tournament wraps up with the bronze and gold medal games on Sunday, May 26.
TSN and RDS, Hockey Canada’s official broadcast partners, will carry 64 and 57 games, respectively; check local listings for details.
Since 1931, Canada has won the world championship 20 times – not counting the years when Olympic Winter Games champions were also considered world champions. The country has also collected 12 silver medals and seven bronze.