CALGARY, AB - Karen Hughes has been named head coach of the National Women's Under 22 Team for the 2000-2001 season, the Canadian Hockey Association announced Friday.
The Canadian Hockey Association launched the National Under 22 Program during the 1998-1999 season. The program gives younger players an opportunity to experience international competition, on the international ice surface and to experience everything that international hockey encompasses such as international travel, different playing styles, international officiating, etc.
Hughes was an assistant coach with Canada's National Women's Team for the past two seasons, as Canada captured it's fifth and sixth consecutive gold medals at the Women's World Hockey Championship. The native of Scarborough, ON, has been the head coach of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues since the 1993 season.
"I'm looking forward to this experience with the National Under 22 Team," said Hughes. "This program has a big role to play in the development of the National Women's Team as many of the players on the Under 22 Team will go on to play for Canada at World Championship and Olympics."
Hughes will be joined behind the bench by Nancy Wilson, of London, ON, and Margot Page, of Kitchener, ON. Wilson was an assistant coach with the National Under 22 Team in 1999-2000, as it won a series with the USA in August, 1999 and the Four Nations Tournament in Switzerland in February, 2000. She coaches a Bantam AAA Boys Team in British Columbia.
This will be Page's first experience as a coach with one of Canada's National Women's Teams. As a player, she captured three gold medals with Canada's National Women's Team at the 1990, 1992 and 1994 Women's World Hockey Championships. Page is the head coach of the Niagara (NY) University Women's Hockey Team.
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.
"The strength of this coaching staff for the National Under 22 Team is further proof of the depth of quality coaches involved in Women's Hockey in Canada," said Renney. "The players profit a great deal from this program and from the wealth of knowledge of hockey this coaching staff will bring."
"Karen brings a great deal of international experience to the Program, having worked with the National Women's Team for the past two seasons," said Gaëtan Robitaille, General Manager, Women's High Performance Program with the CHA. "Along with Nancy's experience with the National Under 22 Team and Margot's experience as a player with the National Team, I believe that this staff will give the players the tools to succeed at the international game."
The coaching staff's first responsibility will be to run a Selection Camp from August 13-21, 2000 at the Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary, AB. It will be followed by a series of games against the USA. Players attending this camp and details will be confirmed over the next month. The National Under 22 Team will also be taking part in a Women's Hockey Tournament in Europe in November, 2000.