CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada is tapping into a familiar face to lead Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at next month’s IIHF U18 World Championship.
Hockey Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Hockey League and Hockey Canada’s policy committee, comprised of Hockey Canada president and chief executive officer Tom Renney, Hockey Canada chief operating officer Scott Smith, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations and national teams Scott Salmond, OHL commissioner and CHL president David Branch, QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau, WHL commissioner Ron Robison and Hockey Canada chairman Joe Drago (Sudbury, Ont.), announced Shaun Clouston (Viking, Alta./Medicine Hat, WHL) will take the lead behind the bench as head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championship, April 14-24 in Grand Forks, N.D.
Serge Lajoie (St. Albert, Alta./University of Alberta, CWUAA) and Jarrod Skalde (Niagara Falls, Ont./Guelph, OHL) will serve as assistant coaches to Clouston.
“We’re excited about the calibre of coaching staff we have assembled to lead our under-18s into the world championship,” said Salmond. “Their hockey experience and leadership will benefit our young players as they compete against some of the world’s best on an international stage.”
Shaun Clouston is taking the reins as head coach of Team Canada for the first time after previously serving as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in 2014 and 2015, winning gold both years. Clouston just completed his sixth season as head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, and has also been general manager of the hockey club since the 2012-13 season. He previously spent seven seasons as an assistant coach with Medicine Hat, was head coach of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans for the 2002-03 season, and was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks in 2001-02. As a player, Clouston played three seasons with the CHL’s Tulsa Oilers, winning the CHL championship in 1993. He also served as captain during the 1991-92 season with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, and played two seasons with the IHL’s Milwaukee Admirals.
Serge Lajoie just completed his first season as head coach of the University of Alberta Golden Bears. He guided the perennial powerhouse to a spot in the Canada West championship series, and a fourth consecutive appearance at the CIS championship, the University Cup. Prior to joining Alberta, Lajoie spent five seasons as head coach of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology men’s hockey team, leading the Ooks to a pair of ACAC championships, and he was twice named the ACAC coach of the year. Lajoie also played four seasons of professional hockey in Germany with EC Bad Nauheim and five seasons with the Golden Bears, winning a national championship in 1992.
Jarrod Skalde took over as head coach of the OHL’s Guelph Storm in December 2015. He was previously head coach of the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals for one season, and spent three seasons as head coach and director of hockey operations of the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, where he was recognized as coach of the year in 2013. Skalde’s professional career spanned more than 15 years in the NHL, AHL, IHL, Switzerland, Sweden, and Japan.
Hockey Canada’s, director of player personnel, Ryan Jankowski, will select Canada’s roster for the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championship, with support from the coaching staff. The roster will include players whose CHL teams either missed the playoffs or are no longer competing in the postseason.
Canada opens the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championship on April 15 against Denmark; it will also play the Czech Republic, Finland, and Slovakia in preliminary-round action. TSN, the official broadcast partner of Hockey Canada, is broadcasting 12 games, including all of Team Canada’s match-ups at the IIHF U18 World Championship.
Canada has won seven medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship, including three gold medals (2003, 2008 and 2013).