CALGARY, Alta. – The Canadian Junior Hockey League announced Monday the coaching staffs of Canada East and Canada West, who had been chosen to guide their respective sides at the 2020 World Junior A Challenge, which was to have taken place this December in Cornwall, Ont., but was cancelled earlier this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Selected as head coach of Canada East was Martin Dagenais (Ottawa Jr. A Senators/CCHL) while his assistants were to be Corey Beer (Timmins Rock/NOJHL); Dan Sauve (Rockland Nationals/CCHL) and Simon Olivier (Everest de la Côte-du-Sud/LHJAAAQ).
As for Canada West, Brian Maloney (Chilliwack Chiefs) was tabbed as head coach for the 2020 team.
Chosen to work with Maloney as assistant coaches were Paul Dyck (Steinbach Pistons/MJHL); Adam Manah (Sherwood Park Crusaders/AJHL) and Clayton Jardine (Camrose Kodiaks/AJHL).
“While the cancellation of the annual World Junior A Challenge is a disappointment, we are all supportive of the process undertaken to arrive at the decision and of the decision itself,” stated CJHL president Brent Ladds.
“Ensuring the safety of our athletes, officials, volunteers, staff and fans is paramount during these current conditions. We appreciate the support we received through the evaluation process from Hockey Canada and the National Hockey League,” added Ladds.
“We are grateful to the host committee in Cornwall, Ont., for their never wavering commitment and look forward to working with them again.”
The CJHL president also offered further sentiments.
“My sincere thanks to all the individuals who applied for positions with both Team East and Team West and to Mark Grady, director of operations for Team East, and Jamie McCaig, director of operations for Team West for their patience and efforts throughout this process.”
“I would like to extend my congratulations to all of the successful coaching applicants who would have been on-site for this year’s event. I know that in the tradition of the WJAC, the Canadian teams would have represented Hockey Canada, the CJHL and our country in a manner, that would have made us very proud.”
With their respective clubs in 2019-20, the eight coaches that were selected to be behind the bench at the 2020 WJAC, led their teams to a combined overall regular season record of 291-137-34, while producing a total winning percentage of .667.
“There was an extraordinary group of high-quality coaches that applied for positions with Team Canada East,” provided Grady, who was to head up the east.
“Three of the candidates who were selected for this year’s squad were members of Canada East in 2019 in Dawson Creek, B.C. where TCE fell short, in double overtime, against Russia in the gold medal game,” added Grady.
The fourth member of the 2020 staff, Simon Olivier from the QJAAAHL, was of great assistance in identifying players from Quebec for last year’s entry in Dawson Creek. All four of these men operate great programs in the CJHL and I look forward to working with all of them again in the future.”
For his part, McCaig too echoed the thoughts of both Ladds and Grady.
“Its unfortunate that the 2020 WJAC was officially cancelled, but in times like these, everyone’s health and safety is much more important,” said McCaig.
“Having said that, we felt that announcing our selected staff was the right thing to do for the successful candidates, their respective club teams as well as their respective leagues,” he added.
“At the conclusion of a very thorough application and interview process, I am confident that we selected a first-class staff that would have represented the west very well. All of these coaches deserve the honour and recognition that comes with being associated with Hockey Canada and the CJHL.”
Cornwall is expected to host the 2021 World Jr. A Challenge at a yet to be determined date.
Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images