As the Halifax Mooseheads get set to open the Quebec Major Junior Hockey Championships this weekend on the road in Shawinigan, the team’s head coach has received some good news from Hockey Canada.
Dominique Ducharme has been named as an assistant coach for Team Canada as they prepare to defend their World Junior Hockey Championship gold next winter.
He told The Chronicle Herald that he is honored to be named to the squad’s coaching staff.
Ducharme will work under newly promoted head coach Dave Lowry at the tournament in Helsinki, Finland.
Dave Lowry has a simple message for Canada’s world junior hockey hopefuls — stay the course.
Lowry was an assistant with the team that won gold on home soil in January.
“We’re going to continue to build on the momentum that we generated,” Lowry said on a conference call. “The mindset and mandate moving forward will be that we’re once again going to take the best players and we’re going to make the players buy into playing the game a certain way, and that will be our way.”
Canada won the most recent tournament in Montreal and Toronto to end a five-year drought thanks to a structure similar to the one employed with the men’s team at the Olympics, and Lowry said that won’t change.
“We will continue to use the Olympic model, (but) we now have our model moving forward that was very successful in 2015,” said the Ottawa native. “We will create that legacy moving forward with the 2016 team.
“It’s a formula that works and everybody wants to be part of a successful program.”
The head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Royals for the last three years, Lowry played 1,084 games over 19 NHL seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames.
Assistants Martin Raymond of the Drummondville Voltigeurs and D.J. Smith of the Oshawa Generals will join Lowry and Ducharme on the bench.
Hockey Canada also announced Monday that Kelly McCrimmon will coach the under-18 team for the coming season.
“It’s not only a great honour, but a chance to work with elite-level players, a chance to work with good coaches, and an opportunity to get better,” said McCrimmon. “(I’m) really pleased and honoured to accept the position.”