CALGARY, ALBERTA - Mike Pelino, of Welland, ON, will be the Head Coach of Canada's first ever World Championship Under 18 Team in April 2002 in Slovakia, the CHA and the CHL announced on Monday.
Pelino has been with the CHA as the assistant coach/general manager of Canada's National Men's Team since August, 1999. He will serve as the Video coach for Canada's Olympic Men's Team at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Pelino was the Head Coach of Canada's National Under 18 Team in 1996, winning a gold medal at the Pacific Cup, and an assistant coach with Canada's National Junior Team in 1997, which captured a gold medal at the World Junior Championship.
Prior to joining the CHA in 1999, Pelino served as assistant coach with the WHL's Spokane Chiefs (1997-1999), and was the Head Coach at Brock University (1987-1997).
"I'm very pleased with this appointment," said Pelino. "I have always enjoyed representing Canada at international hockey events and look forward to preparing Canada for success in our first World Under 18 Hockey Championship."
Canada's Under 18 Program consists of two teams: a National Under 18 Summer Team and a National Under 18 World Championship Team. In preparation of Canada's participation in the World Under 18 Championship in April 2002, the CHA held a development camp in August 2001, from which twenty-two players were selected to represent Canada in a summer event in the Czech Republic. Canada won a gold medal at the 2001 Six Nations Under 18 Cup.
Canada will be taking part in the IIHF World Under 18 Championship for the first time ever in 2002.
Over the next few months, the National Junior Team Policy Committee will set out a plan for the naming of the rest of the World Under 18 coaching and support staff, and establishing a player selection process leading into the IIHF World Under 18 Hockey Championship.
The 2002 IIHF World Under 18 Championship in Slovakia will feature 12 teams. Russia captured the 2001 Championship on in Finland, by defeating Switzerland in the final.
Player evaluation will be overseen by the CHA's Director of Scouting, Barry Trapp in collaboration with three regional scouts, Jim Currie (West), Jim Cassidy (Ontario) and Serge Aubry (Quebec). Canada's 2002 World Championship Under 18 team will be comprised of players under 18 years old whose teams are not playing in either the CHL, Junior A or collegiate playoffs at that time.
The CHA's Under 18 National team is part of a three stage Program of Excellence beginning with the under 17 regional teams and ending with the World Junior team.