The Western Hockey League, in collaboration with the Canadian Hockey League and Hockey Canada, announced today the coaching staff for Team WHL, which will compete against Team Russia at the 2019 CIBC Canada Russia Series in Saskatoon and Prince Albert.

Saskatoon Blades Head Coach Mitch Love will be behind the bench to serve as Head Coach for Team WHL for the first time. He will be joined by Prince Albert Raiders Head Coach Marc Habscheid and Regina Pats Head Coach Dave Struch, who will serve as Assistant Coaches.

Team WHL will host Team Russia November 13 in Saskatoon and November 14 in Prince Albert.

The 35-year-old Love, now in his second season with the Saskatoon Blades, was named an assistant coach for Canada’s National Junior Team this past May. Love, a native of Quesnel, B.C., previously served as an assistant coach for Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he helped Canada capture gold.

The 56-year-old Habscheid, currently in his sixth season with the Prince Albert Raiders, has represented Canada at numerous international events over the course of his career. In 2003, the native of Swift Current, Sask. served as the head coach for Canada’s National Junior Team at the World Junior Championship, taking home a silver medal. Most recently, he helped the Raiders claim the Ed Chynoweth Cup as 2018 WHL Champions.

The 48-year-old Struch, currently in his second season as head coach of the Regina Pats, served as an assistant coach for Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship in Sweden this past April. Struch, a native of Flin Flon, Man., previously represented Canada as head coach of Team Canada Black at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

The six-game CIBC Canada Russia Series features regional league teams of Canadian National Junior Team candidates competing against the Russian National Junior Team. For the first time since 2013, the event will close with two games in the WHL.

Since the event first began in 2003, CHL teams have played to an overall record of 63-25-2-6. The competitiveness of the rivalry has grown in recent years, with Russia winning the event in 2018 – its first title since 2014.

2019 CIBC Canada Russia Series Schedule
Game 1 – Monday, November 4 at Saint John, N.B.
Game 2 – Tuesday, November 5 at Moncton, N.B.
Game 3 – Thursday, November 7 at Kitchener, Ont.
Game 4 – Monday, November 11 at London, Ont.
Game 5 – Wednesday, November 13 at Saskatoon, Sask.
Game 6 – Thursday, November 14 at Prince Albert, Sask.