CALGARY, AB -- Doug Lidster of Kamloops, BC, a 14-year National Hockey League veteran defenceman, has signed as a player/assistant coach for Canada's National Men's Hockey Team for the 1998-99 season, Mike Johnston, the National Team's general manager and head coach announced Tuesday.
Lidster, 37, played for Canada's Men's Olympic Hockey Team in 1984 at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, where Canada finished fourth. He helped Team Canada win silver medals at the World Hockey Championship in 19, and played for Team Canada at the 1990 World Hockey Championship.
"I am excited about the opportunity to work with Doug and expect he will provide both guidance and leadership for our young players," said Johnston. "In the past, with Dean Evason two years ago, and last season with Pat Conacher, the addition of an NHL veteran has proven to be a key ingredient in the make- up of our team.
"Evason went on to help our team win the gold medal at the World Hockey Championship in 1997," Johnston noted. "We're fortunate to have signed a player with Doug Lidster's blend of NHL and international experience. As well, he was with Canada's National Team in 1983-84, playing under head coach Dave King, so Lidster is very familiar with our program."
Lidster was a member of the New York Rangers Stanley Cup-winning team in 1994, and also played a season (1994-95) for the St. Louis Blues. But he played most of his NHL career -- from 1984-- 93 -- with the Vancouver Canucks. In all, Lidster played 880 regular-season games in the NHL, scoring 75 goals and adding 268 assists for 343 points. In 76 career playoff games, Lidster scored six goals and added 15 assists for 21 points.
"There's no question that the year I spent with the National Team helped me step into the NHL," said Lidster. "Coming full circle, since I'm coming to the end of my playing career and want to remain in the game as a coach, I feel this opportunity will help me take the next step and help me become a full-time coach.
"At the same time, if I can help some of the younger players develop and move into the NHL, or wherever they want to go, I can give something back to a program that helped me.
"It's almost like a perfect fit, really."
Canada's National Team represents Canada at major international tournaments, such as the Baltic Cup in Moscow, the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland and the Sweden Games in Stockholm. As well, the team tours small-town Canada, bringing top-flight international competition to communities across the country, as well as coaching, trainer's and officiating clinics. Owing to a schedule that includes two- to three-week training blocks, along with games against National Teams from around the world, the experience helps players focus intensively on skill development in order to enhance their professional career aspirations.