TORONTO, ON – Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson named Wayne Gretzky to lead Team Canada as Executive Director for the World Cup of Hockey 2004 , which takes place August 30 through . Nicholson and Gretzky also announced that Kevin Lowe will assist Gretzky as Assistant Executive Director and Steve Tambellini will be Director, Player Personnel of Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey 2004.
Gretzky, Lowe and Tambellini were all a part of Team Canada’s management staff that helped lead Canada to Gold at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. All three will hold the same positions and titles for the World Cup of Hockey 2004 as they did with Team Canada at the Winter Olympics.
Gretzky will oversee all of Team Canada’s hockey operations for the World Cup of Hockey 2004, and will have the final decision on all personnel and player selections. Gretzky was also Executive Director of Canada’s gold medal winning 2002 Men’s Olympic team in Salt Lake City, as well as Canada’s team at the 2001 Men’s World Hockey Championship in Germany.
Lowe, the General Manager of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, will assist Gretzky with player selection and operation of the team, while Tambellini, Vice-president, Player Personnel with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, will assist Gretzky, Lowe and the coaching staff in the evaluation and scouting of players that will represent Canada.
Gretzky will name Team Canada’s coaching staff and support staff for the World Cup of Hockey 2004 at a later time.
“I am very pleased to announce that Wayne has accepted to assemble Canada’s team for the World Cup of Hockey 2004,” said Bob Nicholson, President, Hockey Canada. “Wayne Gretzky did an outstanding job with the 2002 Olympic team in Salt Lake City, bringing home the gold medal for all Canadians. We also felt that bringing back the same management team from Salt Lake City will be a definite plus for Team Canada for the World Cup of Hockey.”
“I am extremely honoured to again be a member of Team Canada,” said Gretzky. “Any time I have represented my country in the past, whether it was as a player or at the Olympics in Salt Lake City as Executive Director, it has been a thrill for me. I am also extremely excited to again be working closely with Bob, Kevin and Steve – we are all looking forward to putting together an outstanding Canadian team.”
Canada will play its first game of the tournament on August 31st at the Bell Centre in Montreal versus USA.
The World Cup of Hockey 2004 is a joint effort of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL), in cooperation with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). Eight of the top hockey nations in the world make up two pools that will compete in the second World Cup of Hockey tournament. The North American pool consists of Canada, Russia, Slovakia and USA. The Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and Sweden will compete in the European pool.
The North American pool will play its games at three venues: The Bell Centre in Montreal, the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. A complete schedule of World Cup of Hockey 2004 games is attached. Ticket sales information will be announced at a later date by the NHL and the NHLPA.
Canada’s training camp location, details and exhibition game dates have not yet been confirmed.
The World Cup of Hockey 2004 opens with round-robin play within the four-team European and North American pools Aug. 30 - Sept. 5. All teams will qualify for the single-elimination playoff games, beginning with the Quarterfinals, Sept. 6-8 (two games each in Europe and North America). Semi-final games will be played in St. Paul on Sept. 10 and Toronto on Sept. 11. The championship game will be played Sept. 14 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Start times for all games will be announced at a later date by the NHL and NHLPA.
NHL referees and linesmen will officiate all World Cup of Hockey 2004 games using NHL rules.