CALGARY – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced on Wednesday that Greg Gilbert, head coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Mississauga IceDogs, will lead Canada as head coach at the 2006 IIHF World Under 18 Championship, taking place in Ängelholm and Halmstad, Sweden, April 12-22nd. Kirk Muller, head coach of Queen’s University and a former NHL player, was named as assistant coach.
Within the next two weeks, Hockey Canada will name an additional assistant coach that will join Gilbert and Muller behind the bench at the 2006 World Under 18 Championship in Sweden, as well as the remaining support staff.
Gilbert is in his third season as head coach of the OHL’s Mississauga IceDogs. Before joining the IceDogs, Greg spent two and half seasons with the NHL’s Calgary Flames serving as an Assistant Coach in 2000-01 and later assuming the role of Head Coach. Prior to joining the Flames, he spent four seasons as the head coach of the St. Louis Blues’ American League affiliate, Worcester IceCats. In his first season as head coach of the IceCats, Greg guided the 1996-97 club to a first place finish in the New England Division, and was subsequently named both AHL Coach of the Year and The Sporting News Minor League Coach of the Year.
Gilbert began coaching immediately following a successful 15 year NHL playing career with the New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues. Drafted by the New York Islanders 80th overall in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, Gilbert was a member of three Stanley Cup Championship teams (Two with the New York Islanders and one with the 1994 New York Rangers). In his 837 career NHL games, he recorded 378 points (150-228-378). Greg retired after the 1995-96 season.
Muller, a native of Kingston, Ontario, will be an assistant coach for Canada’s 2006 World Under 18 team. Muller just completed his first year as head coach of Queen’s University in Kingston. This will mark Muller’s second international experience as a coach, having represented Canada as an assistant coach at the 2005 Loto Cup in Piestany, Slovakia with Canada’s Men’s National team in December.
Muller represented Canada on the international stage seven times as a player: 1984 World Juniors, 1984 Winter Olympic Games and five times at the Men’s World Championship (winning two silver medals and one bronze medal). Muller was selected to six NHL All-Star Games and won a Stanley Cup as captain of the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens. Selected by New Jersey as the second pick overall in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, behind Mario Lemieux, Muller totaled 357 goals and 959 points in 1349 career NHL games with six teams.
Canada’s World Under 18 staff will gather in Toronto in early April to choose players that will make up Canada’s Under 18 team. Canada’s team will be made up players that have been eliminated or not participating in their club team playoffs. The team will depart from Toronto on Friday, April 7th for Sweden and will have four day camp including two pre-competition games prior to its first game of the Championship on April 12th versus Slovakia. Canada will play in Group B along with Slovakia, Finland, Norway and the host team, Sweden. The official broadcast of Hockey Canada, TSN/RDS, will provide LIVE coverage of Canada’s games at the Under 18 Championship from Sweden, beginning April 15th (check local listings).
For more information on Team Canada at the World Under 18 Championship, visit www.hockeycanada.ca, the official website of Hockey Canada.