CALGARY -- Danny Flynn, who twice has earned medals as an assistant coach with Canadian teams internationally, has been chosen head coach of the Canada Selects, Canada's entry in the 1996 Spengler Cup in Switzerland, Canadian Hockey announced Wednesday.
Sean Simpson, an assistant coach with Zug of the Swiss Elite League, and Don McKee, head coach of the University of Waterloo Warriors, were named as Flynn's assistants by National Team head coach Andy Murray and Mike Johnston, associate coach and general manager of Team Canada.
Flynn, now head coach with the St. Francis-Xavier X-Men of the Atlantic University Athletic Association, was an assistant coach to Joe Canale on Canada's National Junior Team in 1994 when that team won gold at the World Junior Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic.
He also was an assistant Tom Renney in 1995 when Team Canada won a bronze medal at the World Hockey Championships in Stockholm, Sweden. Flynn was an assistant coach under Ted Nolan for three years with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. He also served as head coach and general manager of the OHL's Belleville Bulls in the 1988-89 and '89-90 seasons.
'The key factor in selecting Danny Flynn was his international experience,' said Johnston. 'We felt he had been an assistant internationally and it was his time to step up a level.'
McKee a former Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union coach of the year, piloted Waterloo to the CIAU national tournament, where they lost 3-1 in the gold-medal final to Acadia. Described by Murray as a 'great student of the game and very active in Canadian Hockey's coaching development program,' McKee is chairman of Canadian Hockey's coaching committee.
Simpson, in his sixth season as an assistant with Zug, brings to the Selects a deep and valuable knowledge of the talent base of Canadians playing in the European leagues -- the pool from which most of the players for Canada's Spengler Cup entry will be chosen. The team will be augmented by about six university players currently playing in Canada and the United States.
The make-up of the team won't be finalized until mid-November, Murray said. Canada's National Team is unable to participate in the annual Spengler Cup owing to commitments to play in the Izvestia Tournament in Moscow and the team's domestic tour commitments.
The Canadian pros playing Europe who make up the bulk of the Canada Selects are evaluated for possible inclusion on Team Canada at the World Hockey Championships in March, while the university players invited for the holiday tournament are evaluated as possible players for Canada's National Team for the 1997-98 season.
The Spengler Cup, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, is an invitational club-team tournament held in Davos, a small town nestled in the Swiss Alps. The other participating teams this year include: Jokerit of the Finnish Elite League; Leksand of the Swedish Elite League; Davos, the host team, which will pad its roster with six Russian players; and the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.
The teams play a single round robin, with the top two finishers facing off in the gold-medal final. The tournament runs from Dec. 26 - Jan. 1.
This year the teams will be competing for a brand new trophy. By tradition, when a team wins the Cup five times, it gets to keep the trophy. Canada, coached by Murray, won its fifth Spengler Cup last year and brought the trophy back home, where it is on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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