Don Hay to coach Canadian U20

Burnett, Huska and Vincent serve as assistant coaches


The WHL's Vancouver Giants head coach Don Hay will lead Canada's national junior team at the 2012 IIHF World U20 Championship on home ice in Alberta. Photo: Vancouver Giants

CALGARY – Don Hay of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants will coach the Canadian national junior team at the 2012 IIHF World U20 Championship, scheduled for December 26, 2011 to January 5, 2012 on home ice in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta.

Hay will be joined on the coaching staff by assistant coaches George Burnett (head coach and general manager, Belleville Bulls, OHL), Ryan Huska (head coach, Kelowna Rockets, WHL) and Pascal Vincent (head coach and general manager, Montreal Juniors, QMJHL).

Don Hay, 57, will step behind the bench of Canada’s National Junior Team for the first time since leading Canada to a gold medal and its first-ever perfect record at the 1995 IIHF World U20 Championship. One of just five WHL coaches with 500 regular season victories, Hay has won three WHL championships (1994, 1995 with Kamloops, 2006 with Vancouver) and three Memorial Cups (1994 and 1995 with Kamloops, 2007 with Vancouver) and is a two-time WHL Coach of the Year (1998-99, 2008-09). The Kamloops, B.C., native was a 2008 inductee into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame.

“We are very excited about the staff we are naming today for Canada’s National Junior Team,” said Brad Pascall, vice-president of hockey operations/national teams with Hockey Canada. “All of the coaches we are naming today have previous Team Canada coaching experience, including three with World Junior experience, and we look forward to working with them on the road to Calgary and Edmonton this winter.”

“It is an honour to once again serve as head coach of Canada’s National Junior Team,” said Hay. “I am excited to work with the tremendous staff we have assembled and reclaim gold for Canada at the 2012 IIHF World U20 Championship.”

George Burnett, 49, will be an assistant coach with Canada’s National Junior Team for a second consecutive year, having helped Canada claim silver in 2010. He has also served as head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team in 2001 and 2010, winning a gold medal both years, and was an assistant coach for Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2010 IIHF World U18 Championship in Belarus, where Canada finished seventh. Burnett has spent 14 seasons as a head coach in the Ontario Hockey League, seven with the Belleville Bulls. He has also been bench boss for Niagara Falls, Guelph and Oshawa, winning the OHL Coach of the Year award twice, during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.

Ryan Huska, 35, will return as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Junior Team for the second year in a row, having served under Dave Cameron in 2010. Head coach of the Rockets since 2007, Huska is a veteran of seven Memorial Cups as both a player and a coach – he won championships as a player with the Kamloops Blazers in 1992, 1994 and 1995 and as an assistant coach with Kelowna in 2004, and also appeared in the tournament as Kelowna’s assistant coach in 2003 and 2005 and as the team’s head coach in 2009.

Pascal Vincent, 39, will serve as an assistant coach with Team Canada for the second time, having been behind the bench of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team in 2003, when Canada finished fourth at the Junior World Cup in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Vincent has been head coach and general manager of the Juniors for the past three seasons, and spent nine seasons with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles as head coach and GM, earning the QMJHL Coach of the Year award in 2007-08.

Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada’s senior director of national teams and hockey operations, along with Hockey Canada’s hockey operations department will work closely with the coaching staff in planning and executing all team logistics.

Further details regarding Canada’s National Junior Team summer development camp, scheduled for August 3-7 in Edmonton, including a full practice schedule and roster, will be announced at a later date.

For more information on Canada’s National Junior Team and the 2012 IIHF World U20 Championship, visit



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