CALGARY – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Sunday that Jesse Wallin, head coach and general manager of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, will be the head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team for the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, April 12-22 in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic.
Hockey Canada also announced that Gordie Dwyer, head coach of the QMJHL’s P.E.I. Rocket, and Todd Gill, head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, have been named assistant coaches. Ron Tugnutt, Hockey Canada’s goaltending consultant, will serve as goalie coach.
Jesse Wallin, 34, has completed his seventh season on the Red Deer Rebels coaching staff, starting out as an assistant coach and associate coach before becoming the head coach and general manager. Wallin won a gold medal as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team in 2008. Wallin played four seasons with Red Deer and was named CHL Humanitarian of the Year in 1997. He represented Canada twice at the IIHF World Junior Championship, winning gold in 1997 and co-captaining the 1998 team, finishing eighth, and won a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002.
Gordie Dwyer, 34, will join a Team Canada coaching staff for the first time. Dwyer finished his first season as head coach of the P.E.I. Rocket. He previously coached the MHL’s Summerside Capitals for two seasons, winning the Kent Cup as MHL champions in 2010. Dwyer spent parts of five NHL seasons with Tampa Bay, the New York Rangers and Montreal. Dwyer won a QMJHL championship with Hull in 1995.
Todd Gill, 46, has been the head coach of the Kingston Frontenacs for one season. Prior to joining the Frontenacs, Gill was head coach, general manager and owner of the CJHL’s Brockville Braves. Gill led Brockville to a berth in the RBC Cup, Canada’s National Junior A Championship, in 2010. He was head coach for Canada East at the World Junior A Challenge, finishing fourth in 2009 before winning a silver medal the following year. As a player, Gill played 1,007 NHL games over 19 seasons, and also played for Canada at the 1992 IIHF World Championship, finishing seventh.
Ron Tugnutt, 45, has served as Hockey Canada’s goaltending consultant since the start of the 2009-10 season. Tugnutt served as goalie consultant for Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship, winning a bronze medal, as well as at the 2010 and 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships, winning two silver medals. He was goalie consultant with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2009 and 2011 world championships, finishing fourth both times. Tugnutt spent 17 seasons in the NHL and represented Canada as a player twice, at the 1993 and 1999 IIHF World Championships.
“We are excited today to name Jesse, Gordie, Todd and Ron to our staff for this year’s under-18 world championship,” said Brad Pascall, vice-president of hockey operations/national teams for Hockey Canada. “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 the Czech Republic.”
“Any opportunity to work with Hockey Canada is a special one, and as a staff we look forward to getting to the Czech Republic and getting to work,” Wallin said. “We’re excited to get the team on the ice and begin working towards a third world under-18 gold medal for Canada.”
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 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World 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 world championship, winning in 2003 and 2008. It finished fourth at the 2011 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Crimmitschau and Dresden, Germany.
The 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship opens for Canada on April 12 in Brno when it takes on Denmark. The Canadians will also face the Czech Republic, Finland and the United States in the preliminary round.
TSN/RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, will broadcast Canada’s final preliminary round game against the United States on Tuesday, April 17, as well as both semifinals on Friday, April 20 and both medal games on Sunday, April 22.