OTTAWA - Shannon Miller of Calgary, Mel Davidson of Castor, Alta. and Daniele Sauvageau of St. Eustache, Que. will lead Team Canada to the 1997 Women's World Championship in Kitchener, Ont.
Canadian Hockey announced today that Miller will serve as head coach for the undefeated threesome of international women's hockey with Davidson and Sauvageau as assistant coaches.
"The coaching staff's first challenge will come this fall when they take on Finland and the USA in the Three Nations Challenge this October in Ottawa," said Bob Nicholson, Canadian Hockey's senior vice-president, hockey operations. Games are scheduled for Ottawa, Cornwall, Kingston, Smiths Falls and St. Lawrence College, New York.
"We've brought together three people who we believe complement each other and bring all the necessary components from motivation to teams tactics," added Nicholson. "The gap from first to eighth place has narrowed so much since the worlds in 1990 that it's critical that all elements of the team are strong. We have it at the top - now it's up to them to put together the rest of the puzzle."
Chair of the Canadian Hockey women's open policy committee, Wayne Russell of St.John's, Nfld., said that he is pleased with the appointments. "Canadian Hockey's development programs are such that we are in a position to name three female coaches to the staff," noted Russell. "Our coaching talent is extensive and the program has kept pace with the growth of the women's game."
Miller has not lost in international competition, winning gold as an assistant coach at the 19 World Championships, and as head coach at the 19 Women's Pacific Championships - which Canada also won. A police officer in Calgary, Miller is currently on a leave of absence while launching a women's high performance hockey academy at the Olympic Oval in Calgary.
Davidson has two medals to her credit, having worked as an assistant coach at the 1994 World Championship and 1996 Women's Pacific Championship. She is a graduate of the National Coaching Institute, which gave her the opportunity of working last season with the national men's team coaches, Tom Renney and Mike Johnston.
Sauvageau, a two-time national women's champion, joined Miller and Davidson for the gold medal performance at the 1996 Pacific Women's Championship. She works in the narcotics division of the RCMP in Montreal.
Eight teams are participating in the 1997 World Championship. The top five countries will qualify for the 1998 Olympics along with the host country, Japan.