Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League have announced the appointment of the head coaches for Canada West and Canada East for the 2011 World Junior A Challenge, scheduled for this November in a location yet to be determined.
Vernon Vipers head coach Mark Ferner will serve in the same role for Canada West, while Whitby Fury head coach Curtis Hodgins will take over as head coach of Canada East after serving as an assistant coach in 2010.
Ferner is in his fourth season as head coach and general manager of the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. Under Ferner, the Vipers have won back-to-back-to-back league championships, and are currently trying to win an unprecedented third consecutive National Junior A Championship at the 2011 RBC Cup. Ferner had a 16-year playing career that included stops in the NHL, AHL, WCHL, IHL and Europe, and has previous coaching experience in the WHL and WCHL.
Hodgins was named head coach of the OJHL’s Whitby Fury in April 2010 after a long tenure with the Bowmanville Eagles as both a player and a coach at the Junior A and Junior C levels. During his time behind the bench in Bowmanville, the Eagles won three East Division championships, and reached the Central Canadian Hockey League final in 2009-10.
Every gold medal game at the World Junior A Challenge has featured at least one Canadian team. Canada West won gold at the first two tournaments, in 20, before taking silver in 20. Canada East was silver medalists in 2006, 20 and claimed bronze in 2008.
Since the first World Junior A Challenge in 2006 in Yorkton, Sask., the tournament has produced 71 NHL draft picks, including twelve first-round selections (Kyle Turris, Nikita Filatov, Alexander Burmistrov, Dmitri Kulikov, Jaden Schwartz, Joe Colborne, Vladimir Tarasenko, Beau Bennett, Riley Nash, John Moore, Brendan Smith, Dylan Olsen).