CALGARY, AB -- George Burnett has resigned as head coach of Canada's 1999 National Junior Team, as well as the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, to take a job as assistant coach with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks of the National Hockey League, the Canadian Hockey Association announced Tuesday.
Burnett's two assistants with the National Junior Team -- Claude Julien, head coach of the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Stan Butler, head coach of the expansion Brampton Battalion of the OHL, will remain with the National Junior Team coaching staff.
The National Junior Team Policy Committee will meet in the next two weeks to decide on a replacement for Burnett, said Tom Renney, the CHA's vice-president, hockey. The policy committee comprises OHL commissioner Dave Branch, who is also president of the Canadian Hockey League, Gilles Courteau, president of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Dev Dley, commissioner of the WHL, Renney and Sheldon Lanchbery, vice-chairman-at-large of the CHA.
Burnett coached the Storm to the first-ever OHL league title in 1997-98, then led Guelph to the Memorial Cup tournament, where they lost in the final game, in overtime, to the Portland Winter Hawks. In Anaheim, Burnett will work under Mighty Ducks head coach Craig Hartsburg. Burnett's previous NHL experience was as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, which he coached during the 1994-95 season.
Burnett's departure as head coach of Canada's 1999 National Junior Team comes two days after the conclusion of the team's summer evaluation camp in Winnipeg, MB, where the 1999 World Junior Hockey Championship will be held from Dec. 26 - Jan. 5.
"George told me he regrets the timing of this decision," said CHA president Bob Nicholson. "But we respect his decision to accept a new challenge in his coaching career and wish him the best as he moves to the Mighty Ducks and the NHL.
"One of the purposes of the National Junior Team program is to provide coaches, as well as players and support staff, with a development opportunity that can enhance their professional careers. It's a reality that one of the risks we take in selecting the best talent available in major junior hockey is we might lose those people."
The summer evaluation camp is the first stage in the process of assembling the team that will represent Canada at the 1999 World Junior Hockey Championship in Winnipeg and surrounding cities from Dec. 26 - Jan. 5. About 32 players will be invited to the selection camp from Dec. 12-18, with 22 players being chosen to play for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship.
Canada has won a record 10 World titles, including seven of the last nine, including five in a row from 1993-97.