CALGARY, ALBERTA - Marc Habscheid, Head Coach of the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, has been named Head Coach of Canada's National Junior Team which will be taking part in the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Halifax, NS , the Canadian Hockey Association and the Canadian Hockey League announced on Friday.
The 2003 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship will be held through in Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Habscheid, 39, an NCCP Advanced 1 certified coach, won a silver medal as an assistant coach with Canada's National Junior Team at the 2002 World Junior Championship, and also served as an Assistant Coach with Canada's National Under 18 Team in 1999. The native of Swift Current, SK has been with Kelowna since December, 2000 after two seasons as the Kamloops Blazers' Head Coach. Last year, Habscheid became the first ever former National Junior Team player to return to the Program as a coach, having played for Canada at the 1982 World Junior Hockey Championship.
"I am very excited about the opportunity to coach Canada's National Junior Team, especially in a year in which the World Junior Championship is being held here in Canada," said Habscheid. "I have enjoyed all my experiences in international hockey, both as a player and a coach, and I look forward to the challenge that lays ahead."
The CHA and the CHL also announced the appointment of Hasbcheid's assistant coaches with the 2003 National Junior Team: Mario Durocher, the head coach this past season with the QMJHL's Victoriaville Tigres and Mike Kelly, a head coach last year with the OHL's North Bay Centennials. Durocher and Kelly will join Habscheid behind the Team Canada bench.
The appointments were announced following a thorough screening process carried out by the National Junior Team Policy Committee, which is made up of Dave Branch, president of the Canadian Hockey League and Commissioner of the OHL, Gilles Courteau, the QMJHL Commissioner and WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. The CHA was represented by Bob Nicholson, President, Allan Morris, a vice-chair at large on the CHA Board and Denis Hainault, Director, High Performance.
Durocher, 38, an NCCP Advanced 1 certified coach, has just his second season at the helm of Victoriaville, leading the Tigres to the QMJHL championship this past season, and reached the final at the 2002 Memorial Cup. The native of Sherbrooke, QC also led the Magog Midget AAA Cantonniers to the 2000 Air Canada Cup National Midget Championship.
Kelly, 42, an NCCP Advanced 1 certified coach, was North Bay's Head Coach and General Manager for the past three seasons until it was announced that the franchise would be moved to Saginaw for the 2002-2003 season. Prior to joining the Centennials, the native of Charlottetown, PEI led the University of New Brunswick to the CIAU Championship in 1997-98. Kelly was an assistant coach under Stan Butler at the 20 World Junior Hockey Championship, winning a bronze and a silver medal.
The coaching staff will welcome over 40 players to the National Junior Team's summer development camp at the Halifax Metro Centre in Halifax, NS from August 10-20, 2002. The coaching staff will conduct practices and intra-squad games to evaluate, develop and prepare candidates for the team that will compete for Canada at the 2003 World Junior Hockey Championship.
In December, Habscheid will oversee the National Junior Team selection camp, to which some 30 players will be invited, 22 of whom will earn spots on the final tournament roster.
Canada has won the World Junior Championship a record 10 times in the history of the championship, including seven of the last thirteen gold medals. Team Canada won an unprecedented five straight World Junior titles from 1993-97, silver medals in 2002 in the Czech Republic and in 1999 in Winnipeg, MB as well as bronze medals in 2001 in Russia and in 2000 in Sweden.
The 3M National Certification Program is designed to prepare coaches from communities to national teams to develop athletic potential. The three coaches selected are examples of individuals who have dedicated time in their coaching development to Coach Certification, leveraging their knowledge to work with Canada's National Teams at an international level.
In the next week to ten days, the CHA and the CHL, along with the CHA's outgoing Director, Scouting Barry Trapp will name the list of approximately forty players invited to the National Junior Team's Development Camp.
Details for the National Junior Team's Development Camp in Halifax, NS will also be announced soon.