Alain Vigneault Named Team Canada Coach for 2019 World Championships

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: (l-r) Head coach Alain Vigneault of the New York Rangers and assistant coach Lindy Ruff leave the ice following a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden on October 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Hockey Canada has announced that Alain Vigneault will be the head coach of Team Canada at the IIHF World Hockey Championships.

Alain Vigneault to Coach Canada at Worlds

Hockey Canada made the announcement on April 10th. Joining Vigneault behind the bench are Lindy Ruff, Dave Hakstol and Kirk Muller who will serve as assistants. The decision to pick Vigneault was made by the Team Canada management group. The group is made up of Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill, Ron Francis, Ron Hextall along with Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney and Hockey Canada president and COO Scott Smith.

At the announcement, Tom Renney had this to say about the coaching staff:

“We are extremely fortunate to once again bring together four elite-level coaches with over 60 combined years of NHL coaching experience to lead Team Canada in Slovakia,”

“It is always exciting to represent Canada and compete for a gold medal on the world stage, and we believe this group will use their professional and international experience to provide outstanding leadership to this year’s team.”

Vigneault

Vigneault has spent over 15 years as an NHL head coach, coaching 1,216 regular-season games with the Montreal Canadiens (1997-2000), Vancouver Canucks (2006-13) and New York Rangers (2013-18). His career highlights include 648 NHL wins and winning the Presidents’ Trophy three times – twice with Vancouver (2010-11, 2011-12) and once with New York (2014-15). Vigneault won the Jack Adams trophy once, in 2006-07 and been nominated four times. He has represented Canada twice as an assistant coach at the IIHF World Junior Championship (1989, 1991), winning a gold medal in 1991.

Ruff

Lindy Ruff is currently an assistant coach with the New York Rangers. Ruff has also been an assistant with the Florida Panthers (1993-1997). He was the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres (1997-2012) and Dallas Stars (2013-17). As a head coach, he has earned 736 wins in 1,493 regular-season games and currently ranks sixth all-time in NHL games coached and coaching wins. In 1998, Ruff coached the Sabres to the Stanley Cup finals and has been nominated for the Jack Adams Award three times (2005-06, 2006-07, 2015-16), winning the award in 2005-06. He is a two-time Olympic gold medallist, serving as an associate coach at the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games. He also served as Canada’s head coach at the IIHF World Championship twice (2009, 2013), winning a silver medal in 2013.

Hakstol

Dave Hakstol spent over three years as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers (2015-18). Prior to that, Hakstol spent 15 seasons in various coaching roles with the University of North Dakota (2000-15). Hakstol also spent three-and-a-half seasons as head coach of the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. During his playing career, he was the captain with North Dakota and played for the Indianapolis Ice and Minnesota Moose of the International Hockey League. He also earned Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) Most Outstanding Defenceman honours. Haksotl is making his return to the national team. He served as an assistant on the 2017 team.

Muller

Muller is an associate coach with the Montreal Canadiens. It’s his second stint with the Habs after serving as an assistant from 2006-2011. He has also served as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues (2014-16). Muller was the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes (2011-14) and the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals (2011). Muller has represented Canada twice as a coach, at the 2008 IIHF World U18 Championship and 2005 Loto Cup. As a player, Muller represented Canada at four World Championships (1985, 1986, 1987, 1989).

What to Expect

Hockey Canada has picked a very experienced coaching staff, led by Alain Vigneault. Team Canada will announce its roster heading to the Championships in the coming weeks.

Canada’s first game is on May 10th against Finland. The tournament is being held in Slovakia and runs from May 10-26.
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