Hot on the heels of an impressive on-ice medal display in Sochi, Russia, Hockey Canada today announced Kevin Dineen as Head Coach of the Canada National Men’s Under-18 Team for the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Finland. Dineen was most recently Head Coach of Canada’s National Women’s Team, leading them to gold in Sochi.
In an interesting twist reminiscent of the February 23 gold medal game, Team Canada will take on Sweden in Canada’s first game of the tournament as the Swedes fight back for hockey dominance on the national stage. Canada will also face Germany, Slovakia and Russia in the preliminary round.
The 11-day tournament, held April 17 through April 27 in the Finnish communities of Lappeenranta and Imatra, will offer Dineen the opportunity to repeat the success of Sochi and apply his wealth of experience coaching in the NHL and AHL. As a player, Dineen represented Canada on six occasions, winning silver medals at the IIHF World Championships in both 1985 and 1989, and winning the Canada Cup in ’87 – a number now synonymous with hockey, Canada and gold. Additionally, Dineen took to the ice for 19 NHL seasons with teams including the Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Trevor Letowski (Head Coach, Sarnia Sting, OHL) and Gord Murphy take the role of assistant coaches. Letowski and Murphy hail from Thunder Bay, ON and Willowdale, ON, respectively. The gig represents a milestone for Murphy, serving as Team Canada coaching staff for the first time. Murphy, 46, has a career spanning 14 NHL seasons playing for Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and the now-defunct Atlanta Thrashers, before spending eight years as coaching staff for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Most recently, Murphy served as assistant coach with the Florida Panthers for parts of three seasons during 2010-13.
Letowski is also embarking on a first-time Team Canada coaching gig, bringing to the table a wealth of experience coaching in the OHL with Sarnia Sting for four seasons and playing in the NHL for 13 seasons with Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes. Letowski played 616 games over his NHL career and won a gold medal with Canada’s National Junior Team at the 1997 World Juniors.
“Representing Canada at any level is a great honour and a tremendous challenge,” said Dineen. “I am excited to work with Trevor and Gord, and assemble a team that will make Canada proud at the world championship.”