CALGARY – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Wednesday that Mike Williamson, head coach of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, will be the head coach of Canada’s team for the 2011 IIHF World U18 Championship, April 14-24 in Dresden and Crimmitschau, Germany.
It was also announced that Dale Hawerchuk, head coach and director of hockey operations with the OHL’s Barrie Colts, and Mark Lamb, head coach and general manager of the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos, have been named assistant coaches. Ron Tugnutt, assistant coach/goalie coach with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes, will serve as goaltending consultant.
The 2011 IIHF World U18 Championship will mark the first appearance for Williamson, Hawerchuk and Lamb behind the Team Canada bench. Tugnutt has served as a goaltending consultant with Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence since the beginning of the 2009-10 season.
“We are excited today to name Mike, Dale, Mark and Ron to our staff for the 2011 IIHF World U18 Championship,” said Brad Pascall, vice-president of hockey operations/national teams. “All four bring varying experiences from their coaching and playing days, and we’re looking forward to watching them help develop Canada’s top young players in Germany.”
“Any opportunity to work with Hockey Canada is a special one, and as a staff we look forward to getting to Germany and getting to work,” said Williamson. “We’re excited to get the team on the ice and begin working towards a third world under-18 gold medal for Canada.”
Mike Williamson, 38, has been the head coach of the Hitmen for the past two seasons, winning a WHL championship in 2009-10, his first season with the club. Prior to joining the Hitmen, Williamson spent 13 seasons in the Portland Winterhawks’ organization; seven-and-a-half seasons as head coach, two-and-a-half as an assistant coach and three seasons as a player. Williamson won a Memorial Cup with Portland as an assistant coach in 1998.
Dale Hawerchuk, 47, will join a Team Canada coaching staff for the first time, but represented Canada six times as a player. Hawerchuk won Canada Cups in 1987 and 1991, a silver medal at the 1989 IIHF World Championship, bronze medals at the 1982 and 1986 IIHF World Championships and finished seventh at the 1981 World Junior Championship. Hawerchuk, a 2001 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, just completed his first season with the Colts after spending the previous three years as owner, president, director of hockey operations and head coach with the OJHL’s Orangeville Crushers. During a 16-year NHL career with Winnipeg, Buffalo, St. Louis and Philadelphia, Hawerchuk recorded 1,409 points (518 goals, 891 assists) in 1,188 games.
Mark Lamb, 47, has been the head coach and general manager of the Swift Current Broncos for the past two seasons. Prior to joining the Broncos, Lamb was an assistant coach in the NHL for eight seasons with Edmonton (2001-02) and Dallas (2002-09). Lamb enjoyed an 11-year NHL career with Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Montreal, recording 146 points (46 goals, 100 assists), and won the Stanley Cup in 1990 with the Oilers.
Ron Tugnutt, 43, is the lone member of the coaching staff with experience as a coach with Team Canada. Tugnutt served as goalie consultant for Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2010 and 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships, winning two silver medals, and was goalie consultant with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2009 world championship, finishing fourth. Tugnutt spent 17 seasons in the NHL and represented Canada as a player twice, at the 1993 and 1999 IIHF World Championships.
Canada’s coaching staff, along with Kevin Prendergast, Hockey Canada’s head scout of the men’s Program of Excellence, will help select Canada’s roster for the 2011 IIHF World U18 Championship from players whose Canadian Hockey League teams either missed the playoffs or lost in the first round.
Canada is a two-time gold medallist at the IIHF World U18 Championship, winning in 2003 and 2008. It finished seventh at the 2010 IIHF World U18 Championship in Minsk and Bobruisk, Belarus.
The 2011 IIHF World U18 Championship opens for Canada on April 15 in Dresden when it takes on the Czech Republic. The Canadians will also face Finland, Sweden and Norway in the preliminary round.