TORONTO, Ont. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Wednesday that Dale Hunter (Petrolia, Ont.), head coach, owner and president of the OHL’s London Knights, will be head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team for the 2013 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament, scheduled for Aug. 5-10 in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia. Dominique Ducharme (Joliette, Que.), head coach of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, and D.J. Smith (Windsor, Ont.), head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals, will serve as assistant coaches.
Dale Hunter, 52, has spent 11 seasons as the owner, president and head coach of the London Knights, leading the team to three Memorial Cup appearances, winning the title in 2005. Hunter has been named OHL coach of the year three times, in 2004, 2005 and 2010, adding CHL coach of the year honours in 2004. Hunter spent part of the 2011-12 season as head coach of the NHL’s Washington Capitals but returned to the Knights’ bench for the 2012-13 season. Hunter is a veteran of 19 NHL seasons with Quebec and Washington, and had his number retired by the Capitals.
Dominique Ducharme, 40, completed his second season as head coach of the Halifax Mooseheads, leading the team to its first-ever Memorial Cup championship after leading the QMJHL with a 58-6-1-3 record in 2012-13. Ducharme joined the Mooseheads after three seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Juniors. While with Montreal, Ducharme was an assistant coach with Quebec at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Winnipeg, Man., finishing fourth. Ducharme played professionally for seven seasons including stops in the ECHL, AHL and Europe.
D.J. Smith, 36, just finished his first season as head coach with the Oshawa Generals, leading the team to a 42-22-1-3 record in 2012-13, a 19-point improvement over the previous season. Prior to joining the Generals, Smith spent eight seasons with his hometown Windsor Spitfires as an assistant and associate coach winning a pair of Memorial Cups in 2009 and 2010. Smith played junior hockey with the Spitfires before a nine-year professional career that including 45 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche.
Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team will gather in Toronto, Ont., for a selection camp July 25-29 at the MasterCard Centre prior to selecting the team which will travel to Europe to compete in the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament. Canada has won the annual summer tournament five years in a row and 15 of the last 17 years.
Information on the players invited to the selection camp will be announced in the near future.
For more information on Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca, or follow along through social media at www.facebook.com/hockeycanada, www.twitter.com/hockeycanada and www.twitter.com/hc_men.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)