MONTREAL – A Quebecer will coach Canada at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. Benoit Groulx was named head coach for the event Team Canada will begin in Montreal.
Hockey Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence management group, announced Wednesday that Benoit Groulx (Hull, Que. / Gatineau, QMJHL) will be the head coach of Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be held Dec. 26, 2014 to Jan. 5, 2015 in Montreal and Toronto.
Hockey Canada also announced that Dave Lowry (Ottawa, Ont./ Victoria, WHL) and Scott Walker (Cambridge, Ont./ Guelph, OHL) will serve as assistant coaches.
The coaches for Canada’s national junior team were selected by the National Junior Team Policy Committee and Hockey Canada Program of Excellence management group member Bruce Hamilton. The Policy Committee is comprised of Hockey Canada COO Scott Smith, CHL President and OHL commissioner David Branch, QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau, WHL commissioner Ron Robison, Hockey Canada officers Michael Brind’Amour and Joe Drago. Hockey Canada senior director of national teams/team operations Scott Salmond served as the staff resource during the selection process.
Benoit Groulx, 46, was an assistant coach under Brent Sutter with Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, where Canada finished fourth. The native of Hull, Quebec, is in his second stint as head coach of the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques, having taken the team to three Memorial Cups (2003, 2004 and 2008). Groulx also served as an assistant coach under Sutter during the 2007 Canada-Russia Super Series, and was named as head coach of Canada’s National Junior Team for the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship, before stepping down to accept a coaching position with the AHL’s Rochester Americans.
Dave Lowry, 49, will be making his first appearance behind the bench with Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. Lowry has been the head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Royals for two seasons, after serving as head coach of the Calgary Hitmen from 2007-09. The native of Ottawa, Ontario, was named WHL Coach of the Year in 2013-14. As a player, he appeared in 1,084 NHL games over 19 seasons. Lowry was named head coach with Canada’s National Summer Under-18 Team in 2009, but had to withdraw after he was named as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Calgary Flames.
Scott Walker, 40, has been involved with Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence in a coaching capacity on two previous occasions, most recently winning a gold medal at the 2012 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team, where he served as an assistant coach. The native of Cambridge, Ontario, has been the head coach of the OHL’s Guelph Storm for four seasons, leading the team to an OHL championship this season. Walker won a bronze medal as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, and represented Canada on three occasions as a player at the IIHF World Championship, winning a silver medal in 2005. Professionally, Walker appeared in 829 NHL games with Vancouver, Nashville, Carolina and Washington.
Hockey Canada also announced that the Program of Excellence management group is confirmed for the 2014-15 season, comprised, as it was in 2013-14, of Bruce Hamilton (Kelowna, WHL), Sean Burke (Phoenix, NHL), Joël Bouchard (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL), and Mark Hunter (London, OHL). This group works directly with Hockey Canada’s senior director of hockey operations and national teams Scott Salmond (Creston, B.C.) and the national junior team policy committee in setting direction for the program.
Canada’s National Junior Team will hold a development camp from Aug. 3-9, 2014, with the team based in Montreal. Players at camp will play games against national under-20 teams from the Czech Republic and Russia. Games will be played in Brossard, Sherbrooke and at Concordia University. Practices for Canada’s development camp will open to the public free of charge, but games will be ticketed.
For more information about the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship and ticket sales visit www.worldjunior2015.com