CALGARY, AB - Danièle Sauvageau has been named full-time head coach of Canada's National Women's Olympic Team through the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, USA, the Canadian Hockey Association announced Thursday.
Sauvageau was an assistant coach for Canada's Olympic Team at the 1998 Winter Olympics and an assistant at the 1997 Women's World Hockey Championship. She was head coach at the 1999 Women's World Hockey Championship in Finland, where Canada won gold. This past season, Sauvageau became the first-ever woman coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, as she was an assistant coach with the Montreal Rocket.
Melody Davidson, of Oyen, AB and Wally Kozak, of Wadena, SK were named as Sauvageau's assistant coaches, and will join her to form the Olympic coaching staff for the next two seasons.
Sauvageau, of Deux-Montagnes, QC becomes the second-ever full-time head coach of Canada's Women's Olympic Team. She will begin her duties immediately and will work from both her home in Montreal and from the CHA office in Calgary over the course of the 2000-2001 season. As per CHA policy, terms of her contract were not released.
"I am thrilled about my appointment as head coach of Canada's National Women's Team for the 2002 Winter Olympics," said Sauvageau. "I look forward to two exciting years ahead for the coaching staff and the challenge of representing our country at these major competitions. I am especially appreciative of the support of my employer, the Montreal Urban Community Police Service, in my coaching career. "
Davidson was the head coach of the National Women's Team this past year, guiding the Team to a sixth consecutive title at the 2000 Women's World Hockey Championship. Davidson is currently the head coach of the Women's Program at Connecticut College. Kozak was an assistant with Team Canada in 1999-2000 and runs the Oval X-Treme Women's Hockey Program in Calgary, AB. Both assistant coaches will be part-time for the 2000-2001 season and then will become full-time for the 2001-2002 season.
The three coaches were selected following a thorough selection process conducted by the National Women's Team Policy Committee. The committee included the following CHA representatives: Tom Renney, Vice-president, Hockey, Denis Hainault, Director, High Performance, René Marcil, Officer-at-large, CHA and Byron Stephen, Chair of the CHA Female Council.
"Canada's National Women's team has fashioned a highly impressive record over the years and Danièle Sauvageau has been a central part of that," said Renney. "She has done an outstanding job and, clearly, we believe she is the best choice to lead our team at the 2001 World Championship and the 2002 Winter Olympics. We feel the combination of these three people provides Team Canada with outstanding coaching as we prepare for Salt Lake City."
"Danièle has been involved in the women's game for a number of years and has experience both at the Worlds and at the Olympics," said Gaëtan Robitaile, General Manager, Women's High Performance Program. "I look forward to working with the entire coaching staff as we prepare for the 2002 Winter Olympics."
Over the next few weeks, the coaching staff and Robitaille will solidify plans for the 2000-2001 season, which will include games in Canada and the USA, leading up to the 2001 Women's World Hockey Championship April 2-8, 2000 in Minneapolis, USA. The first tour of duty for Sauvageau and the coaching staff will be the National Women's Development Camp August 13-21 at the Father Bauer Arena in Calgary, AB.
Planning for the 2001-2002 season, reviewing aspects such as scheduling and the centralization of players in preparation of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, USA will be finalized by Robitaille and the coaching staff over the next few months.