CALGARY, ALBERTA – Mario Durocher, Head Coach of the QMJHL’s Lewiston MAINEiacs (formerly the Sherbrooke Castors), has been named Head Coach of Canada's National Junior Team which will be taking part in the 2004 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Finland. The announcement was made by Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League on Thursday.
The 2004 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship will be held through in Helsinki and Hameenlinna, Finland.
Durocher, 39, an NCCP Advanced 1 certified coach, has just completed his 3rd season as a head coach in the QMJHL, his first with Sherbrooke/Lewiston. The native of Sherbrooke, QC was an assistant behind Marc Habscheid with Canada’s National Junior Team, which won a silver medal at the 2003 World Juniors in Halifax, NS. In 2001-2002, Durocher led the Victoriaville Tigres to the QMJHL championship and reached the final at the 2002 Memorial Cup. Durocher also led the Magog Midget AAA Cantonniers to the 2000 Air Canada Cup, Canada’s National Midget Hockey Championship.
"I am very excited about the opportunity to coach Canada’s National Junior Team, after a tremendous experience at the 2003 World Juniors in Halifax," said Durocher. "I truly enjoyed my experience last year with Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence and I look forward to the challenge that is ahead."
Hockey Canada and the CHL also announced the appointment of Durocher’s assistant coaches with the 2004 National Junior Team: Dean Chynoweth, the head coach of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds and Jim Hulton, head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs.
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. Hockey Canada was represented by Bob Nicholson, President, Ken Corbett, a vice-chair at large on the Hockey Canada Board and Denis Hainault, Director, High Performance.
Hulton, 33, an NCCP Intermediate certified coach, led Canada’s National Under-18 Team to a gold medal at the 2002 Eight Nations Cup. The native of Wolfe Island, ON coached the Belleville Bulls for three years prior to joining Kingston, including an OHL Eastern Conference regular season championship in 2001-2002. Hulton was an assistant coach with Canada's National Under-18 Summer Team which won the 2001 Six Nations Under-18 Tournament in the Czech Republic in August, 2001.
Chynoweth, 34, an NCCP Intermediate certified coach, has just completed his second season as head coach of Seattle, leading the Thunderbirds to a first place finish in the WHL’s Western Conference U.S. Division. The native of Calgary, AB was an assistant coach under Hulton with the National Under-18 Team which captured gold at the 2002 Eight Nations Cup. Chynoweth was an assistant coach with the IHL's Utah Grizzlies prior to joining Seattle. Chynoweth played three seasons with the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers, capturing two Memorial Cups, prior to spending parts of nine seasons in the NHL with the New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins.
The coaching staff will welcome 44 players to the National Junior Team's summer development camp in Calgary, AB tentatively scheduled from August 9-18, 2003. 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 2004 World Junior Hockey Championship.
In December, Durocher 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 10 times in the history of the championship, including seven of the last fourteen gold medals. Team Canada won an unprecedented five straight World Junior titles from 1993-97. Canada also took home silver medals in 2003 in Halifax, NS, 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 National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) 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 10 days, Hockey Canada and the CHL, along with Hockey Canada’s Head Scout Blair Mackasey, will name a list of 44 players invited to the National Junior Team’s Development Camp.
Director, High Performance, Denis Hainault and Head Scout, Blair Mackasey join the coaches on the 2004 National Junior Team staff, along with a support staff, which was also named by Hockey Canada on Thursday:
• Russ Hammond (Guelph Storm, OHL) Equipment Manager
• Joe Coccimiglio (Toronto St. Michael’s, OHL) Therapist
• Dr. Michel Parayre (Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL) Team PhysicianDetails for the National Junior Team’s Development Camp in Calgary, AB, including the list of players invited, will also be announced soon.