Hockey Canada is going back to Claude Julien.
The former head coach of the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens (and briefly New Jersey Devils) will guide Canada's men's team at the 2022 IIHF World Championship next month in Finland, Hockey Canada announced on Monday. TSN's Darren Dreger first reported the news.
It's an opportunity at redemption, of sorts, after a disappointing showing for Julien as head coach of the national team at the Beijing Olympics earlier this year. Canada was shut out — and eliminated — by Sweden in the quarterfinals.
Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith will also be on the coaching staff, as first reported by TSN's Clare Hanna. Pierre LeBrun reports that Arizona Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny will also serve behind Julien at the event.
Julien's turn with the national team hadn't gone as planned for reasons beyond the loss before reaching the medal round in China. He was forced to sit in the stands for the first game, and almost missed the entire tournament, after a sledding accident during a team-building exercise weeks before left him with broken ribs and a punctured lung.
It wouldn't be anything more than an assumption to suggest that his uncertain participation impacted Canada's performance, but the coach did miss much of the lead-up to the competition after arriving late in Beijing.
Julien has had success at the international level with Canada, albeit in an assistant role. He served on Mike Babcock's staffs at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which were events Canada won. As for his assistants, Tourigny has much more experience in big international tournaments after coaching at multiple levels for Hockey Canada, including the world juniors. Smith's only experience internationally was as an assistant at the 2013-14 U18 Ivan Hlinka tournament while he was coaching in the Ontario Hockey League.
Just as it is for Julien, it's a second chance at success for Shane Doan, who will once again choose the veteran coach's roster after serving as Hockey Canada's GM for the Olympic tournament in Beijing.
An assistant at the event last spring, Doan should have a better selection of players to choose from compared to 12 months ago when COVID-19 complications and the deferred NHL calendar limited options. Canada still managed to capture the gold medal at the event behind a breakout performance from Andrew Mangiapane, who was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
Former NHL star and international Hall of Famer Rick Nash will serve on Doan's staff.
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