CALGARY, Alta. – Nine coaches have been selected to lead Canada’s national men’s under-17 teams throughout development camp and at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, set for Nov. 3-10 in Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B.
Brett Gibson (Gananoque, Ont./Queen’s University, OUA) will serve as the head coach of Team Canada White, Louis Robitaille (Montreal/Victoriaville, QMJHL) will head Team Canada Red, and Dennis Williams (Stratford, Ont./Everett, WHL) will lead Team Canada Black.
Sylvain Favreau (Orleans, Ont./Halifax, QMJHL) and Troy Smith (Hamilton, Ont./Saginaw, OHL) have been named assistant coaches for Team Canada Black, while Dylan Hunter (London, Ont./London, OHL) and Daniel Renaud (Gatineau, Que./Shawinigan, QMJHL) will serve as an assistant coaches with Team Canada White. Joining Robitaille behind the bench with Team Canada Red are Dave Matsos (Burlington, Ont./Hamilton, OHL) and Mark O’Leary (Owen Sound, Ont./Moose Jaw, WHL).
“This country produces not only great players, but also great coaches. We had a tremendous amount of very qualified applicants, and the decisions were not easy,” said Shawn Bullock, Hockey Canada’s senior manager of hockey operations and men’s national teams. “The coaches we selected to lead our national men’s under-17 teams this summer and at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge have considerable coaching experience from many different levels of hockey. Each coach brings something unique to the program, and we look forward to their leadership as they help develop the top young players in Canada.”
Hunter has served as an assistant coach with the London Knights of the OHL since 2011, helping the team capture the 2016 Memorial Cup in Red Deer, Alta. He also served as a guest coach at Hockey Canada’s national under-17 development camp in 2017. Prior to his coaching career, Hunter played in 315 games for the Knights from 2001-06, and was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the ninth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He played in more than 300 games over five seasons for various teams in both the AHL and ECHL.
Matsos just completed his first season as associate coach with the Hamilton Bulldogs, winning the OHL championship. Prior to joining the Bulldogs, Matsos’ OHL experience included four seasons with the Sudbury Wolves starting as an associate coach before taking over head coaching duties during the 2014-15 season. He also served as an assistant coach with the Windsor Spitfires for three seasons between 2010 and 2013. Matsos began his coaching career in England with the Sheffield Steelers (EIHL) from 2006 to 2010. He played for Team Canada at the 1996 IIHF World Championship, winning a silver medal. As a player, he played over 400 games in 10 seasons in the AHL, DEL, EIHL, and NIHL, and also played four seasons of junior hockey with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Smith returns to a coaching role at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge under the tournament’s new format, having been an assistant coach three times with Team Ontario, and a head coach twice between 2008 and 2013, picking up two gold, two silver, and one bronze mdeal. Immediately following his playing career, which included two seasons playing professional hockey in the ECHL, UHL, and EIHL, Smith spent seven seasons as assistant coach of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers before taking on the team’s head coaching role in 2013, which he held until the 2015-16 season when he joined the Hamilton Bulldogs as assistant general manager and associate coach. Smith was hired by the Saginaw Spirit as head coach prior to the start of the 2017-18 season.
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