World Juniors Recap – December 19
Dennis Williams becomes head coach; Stéphane Julien, Brent Kisio, Alan Letang named assistants
CALGARY, Alta. – With less than two months until the puck drops at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships, Hockey Canada has named the staff who will lead Canada’s junior national team in their gold medal defenses in Halifax, NS and Moncton, NB
After helping Canada to a gold medal at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships as an assistant coach, Dennis Williams (Stratford, Ontario/Everett, WHL) returns to take the reins as head coach. He is accompanied by assistant coaches Stephane Julien (Shawinigan, Que./Sherbrooke, QMJHL), Brent Kisio (Calgary, Alta./Lethbridge, WHL) and Alan Letang (Renfrew, Ontario/Sarnia, OHL)as well as goalkeeper advisors Kelly Guard (Prince Albert, Sask./Prince Albert, WHL) and video coach James Emery (Calgary, Alta.).
The coaching staff was selected by Alan Millar (Tottenham, Ontario)director of player staff, James Boyd (Midland, Ontario/Ottawa, Ohio)who returns to the program’s management group for excellence as U20 leader after helping assemble the team that won gold at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships, and Scott Salmon (Creston, BC)Senior Vice President of Ice Hockey Operations.
“We are very excited to welcome Dennis and James Boyd back to World Juniors 2022 after a gold medal to add momentum and consistency to our summer success,” said Millar. “We are also pleased to welcome Stephane, Brent, Alan, Kelly and James Emery as each coach brings a wealth of experience and success from the Canadian Hockey League and internationally. We believe we have assembled a top-notch coaching staff that will play a major role in defending our east coast gold medal starting next month.”
Williams is in his sixth season as head coach of the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and is expanding his responsibilities to include the title of general manager in July 2021. He has led the Silvertips to four US Division titles and three Western Conference regular season titles and one Western Conference Playoff Championship. He was twice named WHL Western Conference Coach of the Year (2017-18, 2019-20) and once US Division Coach of the Year (2021-22). In addition to his gold medal at the 2022 World Juniors, Williams won a silver medal as an assistant to the Canada Summer Men’s Under-18 team at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He was also the head coach of Team Canada Black at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Julien Most recently, he was head coach of Canada’s summer men’s under-18 team and won a gold medal at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He is currently in his third season as head coach and general manager of the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Julien previously served as head coach for parts of five seasons (2016-20) before adding the title of general manager and served as assistant coach for four seasons (2012-15). He was also assistant coach of Canada Men’s U18 National Team at the 2017 IIHF World U18 Championship and head coach of Team Canada Black at the 2021 Capital City Challenge.
Kisio is in his eighth season as head coach of the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes. Before joining the Hurricanes, he spent eight seasons as an assistant coach (2007-15) and assistant general manager (2014-15) with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen and helped lead the team to a 2010 WHL championship Assistant coach of Canada’s junior national team at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championships, won a gold medal as head coach at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, won a silver medal as assistant with Team Pacific at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and served as head coach of Team Canada White at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Letang was assistant coach to Julien’s staff at Canada’s summer U18 men’s team that won gold at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup this summer. He is in his second season as the head coach of the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and previously spent five seasons with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack as an assistant coach (2016-19) and head coach (2019-20). . Letang also won a gold medal as an assistant coach with the Canada junior national team at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championships.
Support staff who will be working with the Canada Junior National Team at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships include:
- sports therapists Kevin Elliott (Charlottetown, PEI) and Andy Brown (Owen Sound, Ontario/Owen Sound, OHL)
- team doctor dr RJ Mackenzie (Albert Bridge, NS/Cape Breton, QMJHL)
- equipment manager Gord Cochran (Williams Lake, BC/Regina, WHL) and Chris Cook (Ottawa, Ontario/Hamilton, Ohio)
- Strength and Conditioning Coach Sean Young (Ennismore, Ontario/Ottawa, Ohio)
- Mental Performance Advisor Luke Madill (Kirkland, Que.)
- Hockey operations manager Benoit Roy (Sudbury, Ontario)
- Chief Coordinator of Hockey Operations Natalie Gerstmar (Calgary, Alta.)
- Hockey operations coordinator Kurt Keats (Winnipeg, Man.)
- safety connection Bob Martin (London, Ontario/London, OHL)
- Media Relations Manager Spencer Sharkey (Hamilton, Ontario)
“The Canada Junior National Team’s coaching and coaching staff is a diverse, experienced group who have been instrumental in the recent success of the Hockey Canada national teams,” said Salmond. “We know these individuals will play an important role in our team’s success at World Juniors, and we look forward to the opportunity to compete for a gold medal again on home ice in Halifax and Moncton.”
Canada’s junior national team will gather at the Avenir Center in Moncton December 9-12 for a four-day selection camp before choosing a final roster ahead of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship. The list of selection camps will be announced in the coming weeks.
For more information about Hockey Canada and the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow us on social media on Facebook. Twitter and Instagram.