WINNIPEG – Hockey Canada, along with Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman, announced today that Andy Murray (Souris, MB) has been named head coach of the Canadian entry at the 2007 IIHF World Men’s Hockey Championship, while Mike Johnston (Dartmouth, NS) and Gerard Gallant (Summerside, P.E.I.) will join Murray behind the bench as assistants for the April 27- championship in Moscow, Russia.
Yzerman also announced that Jacques Martin of the Florida Panthers will be Canada’s assistant general manager for the 2007 IIHF World Men’s Championship. Martin is the head coach and general manager of the Panthers, and was a member of Canada’s coaching staff at the 20 Olympics as well as the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Along with Martin and the coaching staff, Yzerman will also continue to consult with two NHL general managers as part of the player selection process: Doug Armstrong of the Dallas Stars and John Ferguson of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“We have put together a coaching staff with tremendous international experience, and I am looking forward to working with them, both in the lead up to the World Championship, and in Russia,” said Yzerman. “I’m looking forward to working with Jacques, as well as with our selection committee of John and Doug, as we look to name players in the coming weeks. I’m confident we will put together a terrific team and make Canada proud.”
For Murray, head coach of the St. Louis Blues, the 2007 IIHF World Men’s Hockey Championship will mark his fourth time behind the Canadian bench at the event. He led Canada to gold medals at the 1997 event in Italy and the 2003 championship in Finland, and finished 6th in 1998 in Switzerland. Murray spent two seasons (1996-98) as the head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Team, finishing with a 77-29-14 record. He was also an associate coach on the 1998 Canadian Olympic Men’s Team.
Johnston, an associate coach with the Los Angeles Kings, steps back behind the Canadian bench at a World Championship for the first time since 1999 in Norway, when he led Canada to a 4th-place finish as head coach and general manager. He was an assistant coach at the World Championship from 1994-98, winning a gold medal as a part of Murray’s staff in 1997. Johnston is also a two-time gold medal winner with the National Junior Team, winning as an assistant coach in 19.
Gallant will be a part of a World Championship coaching staff for the first time, although the former NHLer played for Canada at the 1989 World Championship, scoring five points (two goals, three assists) in eight games as Canada brought home a silver medal from Sweden. Gallant head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2003-06.
Canada opens the 2007 IIHF World Men’s Hockey Championship on April 28 at Mytischi Arena against Germany. The Canadians will play in a preliminary round group with the Germans, Norway and Slovakia.