The Canadian Hockey League in association with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Western Hockey League, today announced the coaching staffs for the 2019 CIBC Canada Russia Series.
The six-game series set for November 4-14 features regional league teams of Canadian National Junior Team candidates competing against the Russian National Junior Team as part of the evaluation process for Team Canada prior to the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
Canadian National Junior Team staff will be at the forefront of the CIBC Canada Russia Series led by head coach Dale Hunter who will get a firsthand look at all of the CHL’s World Junior hopefuls as he travels from coast-to-coast for all six games beginning in Saint John and Moncton where he’ll serve as head coach for Team QMJHL. Hunter will work alongside Team Canada assistant coach Andre Tourigny when the series shifts to Ontario for Team OHL games in Kitchener and London, and National Junior Team assistant coach Mitch Love who will lead Team WHL in Saskatoon and Prince Albert.
“It’s very important,” Hunter says of the upcoming series and its value ahead of World Juniors. “I’m going to go to all six games to make sure that I can watch the kids live and give the kids an opportunity to show what they can do. When you bring together elite players from Canada and from Russia in the same age group the pace is another pace, the skill is another skill, and the intensity is very high. I think both teams are thinking the same way and it sets the tone for Christmas time.”
Hunter is currently in his 19th season as the owner, president, and head coach of the London Knights. During his tenure he’s captured two Memorial Cup titles, has been named OHL Coach of the Year three times, and has received CHL Coach of the Year honours once. He began the 2019-20 campaign with 772 career wins which ranks third on the OHL’s all-time list. On the national stage, Hunter won gold with Canada as head coach of the National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
Tourigny earned OHL Coach of the Year honours in just his second season behind the bench for the Ottawa 67’s leading the team to a franchise record 106 points in 2018-19. His CHL coaching experience also includes 11 seasons with the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies from 2002-13 and one season with the Halifax Mooseheads in 2016-17. For Team Canada, Tourigny won gold at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, served as an assistant coach at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, and won back-to-back silver medals as a National Junior Team assistant in 2010 and 2011.
Love is currently in his second season as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades after spending eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Everett Silvertips from 2009-17. His international experience includes winning gold as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, plus two seasons as an assistant at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with Team Red in 2016 and Team White in 2015 where he won gold.
Six other CHL coaches will assist National Junior Team staff behind the bench at various points of the series including Josh Dixon (Saint John Sea Dogs) and Louis Robitaille (Victoriaville Tigres) with Team QMJHL in Game’s 1 and 2, Jay McKee (Kitchener Rangers) with Team OHL in Game 3, Dylan Hunter (London Knights) with Team OHL in Game 4, plus Marc Habscheid (Prince Albert Raiders) and Dave Struch (Regina Pats) with Team WHL in Game’s 5 and 6.
Since the event first began in 2003, CHL teams have played to an overall record of 63-25-2-6, while Team Canada has earned 12 medals at corresponding World Junior events including seven gold.
The 2019 CIBC Canada Russia series is proudly supported by title partner CIBC, and associate sponsors Kia Canada, Cooper Tires, and Kubota Canada. All games will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
2019 CIBC Canada Russia Series Schedule:
Game 1 – Monday November 4 at Saint John, NB
Game 2 – Tuesday November 5 at Moncton, NB
Game 3 – Thursday November 7 at Kitchener, ON
Game 4 – Monday November 11 at London, ON
Game 5 – Wednesday November 13 at Saskatoon, SK
Game 6 – Thursday November 14 at Prince Albert, SK