With the 2019 Women’s World Championship well underway in Espoo, Finland, Hockey Canada took the next steps necessary on Wednesday to prepare for the Men’s World Championship in Slovakia next month.
Back on March 29, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported that Team Canada was getting closer to naming its head coach for the 2019 IIHF World Championship. Dreger would then add to that in noting that Quebec City native Alain Vigneault was believed to be a top candidate for the position.
The next morning, Dreger would follow up, confirming the hiring of Alain Vigneault for the international tournament, meanwhile, noting that expectations were that Hockey Canada would announce its full World Championship coaching staff early the next week.
Fast forward to Tuesday night, Darren Dreger was back with more, reporting that Team Canada was expected to announce the entirety of their coaching staff this week. Dreger then added that the assistants joining Vigneault would likely be Kirk Muller, Dave Hakstol and Lindy Ruff.
With Canada set to open the World Championship against Team Finland on the 10th of May, Hockey Canada then confirmed the coaching staff through a press release on Wednesday morning.
Vigneault, who was fired by the Rangers after five years with the team last offseason, has previously coached the Vancouver Canucks along with the Montreal Canadiens as well. At this time, Vigneault remains a free agent on the NHL’s coaching market, meanwhile, as noted by Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic Toronto, he still has one year remaining on his contract paying him $4.1 million with the New York Rangers.
A short time following the announcement, Hockey Canada held a teleconference to introduce the coaching staff holding the reigns down in Slovakia, Tom Renney, the organization’s CEO joining the call from Metro Areena in Finland.
In a statement from Renney with regards to working with Jason Botterill to establish the coaching staff, he said, “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.”
During the teleconference, the coaching staff confirmed that it will be a younger group of players taking part for Team Canada, meanwhile, Jason Botterill, who was tasked with building the team with Ron Francis and Ron Hextall, also made mention of the fact that they are looking to bring in some players who can help to knock out opponents in the first round.
Alain Vigneault then added on that Hockey Canada is currently working to solidify commitments with active players while they also sort out who will be joining the team with the Stanley Cup Playoffs set to get started on Wednesday.
On Sunday morning, Bob Boughner was fired from position of head coach with the Florida Panthers, meanwhile, a short time later, Phil Housley was relieved of his coaching duties with the Buffalo Sabres.
That being said, Dale Tallon was quick to move forward, hiring Joel Quenneville to take over on Tuesday, however, with the Sabres position now vacant, Vigneault could very well become a suitable candidate to fulfill the position.
The Los Angeles Kings also relieved Willie Desjardins from his duties as interim head coach on Sunday, another vacant spot in which Alain Vigneault could make a fit as he looks to bounce back.
Unfortunately for Team Canada, they will be without Oilers sensation and captain Connor McDavid who has flown back to Edmonton to undergo further tests after sliding knee first into the net on Sunday.