Hockey Canada has named the coaching and support staffs that will lead Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team in defence of its gold medal at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, July 31-Aug. 5 in Trencin, Slovakia and Breclav, Czechia.
After helping lead Canada to gold medals on home ice at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship as an assistant coach, Alan Letang (Renfrew, ON/Sarnia, OHL) returns to Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team to take the reins as head coach. Kris Mallette (Kelowna, BC/Kelowna, WHL) makes his return to the bench for the second-straight year as an assistant coach, joined by fellow assistant Sylvain Favreau (Orleans, ON/Drummondville, QMJHL), goaltending consultant Justin Pogge (Penticton, BC) and video coach James Emery (Calgary, AB).
The coaching staff was selected by Alan Millar (Tottenham, ON), director of player personnel, Cam Russell (Cole Harbour, NS/Halifax, QMJHL), the U18 lead for the Program of Excellence management group, and Scott Salmond (Creston, BC), senior vice-president of hockey operations.
“We are excited to unveil the coaching and support staff that will lead our National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team in its defence of our gold medal at this year’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup,” Millar said. “Alan, Kris, Sylvain, Justin and James bring extensive experience both at the international and Canadian Hockey League level, and we know this group of coaches will provide valuable leadership to our team while wearing the Maple Leaf with pride next month.”
Letang most recently won a gold medal at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship as an assistant coach, and was an assistant with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team when it won gold at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He also won a gold medal as an assistant with Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship. Letang recently completed his second season (2021-23) as head coach of the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and previously spent five seasons with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack as an assistant coach (2016-19) and head coach (2019-20).
Favreau was recently named the head coach of the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) after serving as head coach (2021-23) and assistant coach (2017-21) of the Halifax Mooseheads for the past six years. This season, he led the Mooseheads to the QMJHL final after finishing the regular season atop the Maritimes Division. Prior to making the jump to the QMJHL, he served as both an assistant (2009-11) and head coach (2011-15) of the Gloucester Rangers of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL), and was the head coach and director of hockey operations for the CCHL’s Cumberland Grads for two seasons (2015-17). Favreau was also a guest coach at the national under-17 development camp in 2017.
Mallette served as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, winning a gold medal. He was also named an assistant coach of Team Canada Black for the 2020 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, which was cancelled due to COVID-19, and was the head coach of Team Canada Red at the 2021 Capital City Challenge. Mallette has served as head coach of the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League (WHL) for the past four seasons (2020-23) after serving six seasons (2014-20) as an assistant, during which he won a WHL championship and helped the Rockets reach the Memorial Cup final in 2015.
The support staff that will work with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup includes:
- Athletic therapists Kevin Elliott (Charlottetown, PE) and Marie-Pierre Néron (Rockland, ON/Ottawa, OHL)
- Team physician Dr. R.J. MacKenzie (Albert Bridge, NS/Cape Breton, LHJMQ)
- Equipment manager Clayton Johns (Toronto, ON/Portland, WHL)
- Senior manager of hockey operations Benoit Roy (Sudbury, ON)
- Manager of hockey operations Kurt Keats (Winnipeg, MB)
Prior to the start of the tournament, the team will practice at the Ice Palace in Budapest, Hungary from July 23-27, and will face off against Hungary’s national under-20 team on July 27. It will also take on Czechia on July 29 at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT at Fosfa Arena in Breclav as part of its pre-tournament schedule.
Canada will open the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup against Finland on July 31 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. It will also take on co-host Slovakia and Switzerland in the preliminary round before the tournament concludes with the medal games on Aug. 5.