Canada’s coaching staff for the Olympics is intimidating. The NHL’s arrival in Beijing is now one step closer
The Canadian Hockey Association has announced the coaching staff that will lead the team for the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing. John Cooper , who holds a similar position at Tampa Bay, has been appointed head coach , and will be assisted by Bruce Cassidy , Peter Debur and Barry Trotz , heading Boston, Vegas and Islanders respectively.
“I am honored to be the head coach of the Canadian national team at the Beijing Olympics and to be able to continue the rich hockey tradition associated with the team. It is an honor to be able to work with a great group of players and an elite coaching staff like Barry, Bruce and Peter.
I have many fond memories of the Olympics, from watching the Games as a child to thrilling finals victories, and I look forward to helping create unforgettable memories for Canadians across the country as our team competes for gold, ”Cooper commented on his appointment.
So far, there is one small nuance – the coaching staff of Canadians will look like this only if hockey players from the NHL take part in the Olympic tournament. However, now it seems that the arrival of star players from North America has become one step closer – it’s not just that the league has allocated a two-week pause for the period of the Olympics. And they would hardly have begun to recruit staff from scratch in Canada either.
For all four specialists, the upcoming Olympic Games may be the first in their coaching careers, and for Bruce Cassidy this will be their debut appearance at the headquarters of the national team. The other three have previously won gold medals at the World Championships as assistants, and Cooper also led the team at the 2017 World Cup, where the Maple Leaves won a silver medal.
Frankly, such a coaching staff looks very impressive and even intimidating. Team General Manager Doug Armstrong has assembled a team of four specialists with different styles, each of whom can improve the team’s performance in different components (unless, of course, Peter Debour is responsible for the majority – his Vegas was, to put it mildly, not very good at playing too much during the previous regular season, and completely failed in the playoffs, ending the postseason with the worst indicator among all participants of 9.3% in 19 matches).
All four coaches are very successful leaders in the National Hockey League, and over the past five years, each of them took their teams to the Stanley Cup final: Debourg lost the trophy to Pittsburgh in 2016 with San Jose, Cassidy at the helm of Boston in 2019 he also could not beat St. Louis, but Trotz and Cooper succeeded much more – the current mentor of the Islanders in 2018 led Washington to the first championship in the history of the club, and the current coach of Tampa, who he has been in office for the longest time in the NHL, making the Lightning the strongest team in the league for two years in a row.
The strength of the staff chosen by Armstrong is also evidenced by the fact that there was no place in it for some other strong specialists, in particular, Alain Vigno , although he failed the season with Philadelphia, but still a quality coach; Rod Brindamore , who almost led Carolina to the Presidential Cup and received the Jack Adams Eward prize for the best mentor of the past championship; as well as the newly minted Rangers head coach Gerard Galland , who won gold medals at the recent World Championships in Riga with a not-so-stellar line-up. In general, there were enough worthy candidates for a trip to Beijing, and it seems that they would be enough for one or two more teams.
Nevertheless, the choice has been made, and it is natural that the leadership of the hockey association expects a lot from such a team. “We are incredibly excited to be led by Stanley Cup winner John Cooper and a trained coaching staff, each of whom will add experience that will benefit the team if NHL players are able to participate. They will proudly represent our country, creating a team that will compete for gold medals, ”said Tom Rennie, Executive Director of the Canadian Hockey Association .
Rennie’s words sound like the NHL’s arrival in Beijing is practically a settled matter. In this case, the Canadian national team, with this coaching staff and the set of hockey players who will play in China, will be the undisputed favorite to win the tournament. Another result for the “maple leaves” would be a real flop.