Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cranbrook Native on U-18 Canada Coaching Staff

Cranbrook native and Tri City Americans Head Coach Jim Hiller will be an assistant Coach for Canada's U-18 Team.

CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced on Tuesday that George Burnett, head coach and general manager of the OHL’s Belleville Bulls, will be the head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team for the 2010 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament, scheduled for August 10-14 in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Burnett will be joined behind Canada’s bench by assistant coaches Ron Choules (head coach of the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan) and Jim Hiller (head coach of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans) for the tournament, which Canada has won in each of the last two years, and five of the last seven.

George Burnett, 48, will make his second appearance as head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team, having led Canada to a gold medal at the 2001 Six Nations Cup in the Czech Republic. He was most recently an assistant coach with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2010 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Belarus, where Canada finished seventh. The Port, Perry, Ont., native has spent 13 seasons as a head coach in the Ontario Hockey League, six with the Bulls. He has also been the head coach for Niagara Falls, Guelph and Oshawa, winning the OHL Coach of the Year award twice – 1990-91 and 1991-92. Burnett coached the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers for 35 games during the 1994-95 season and led Edmonton’s AHL farm team, the Cape Breton Oilers, to a Calder Cup championship in 1993.
“It is always a tremendous privilege and honour to represent Canada on the international stage,” said Burnett. “Being with Team Canada past has always been a tremendous experience and I am anxious to get started with the coaching staff to get our plan in place.”

Jim Hiller, 41, just completed his first season as head coach of the Americans, leading the team to its first-ever appearance in the WHL final. Prior to arriving in Tri-City, the Nelson, B.C., native was the first head coach of the WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins from 2007-09, leading the team to a playoff berth in its expansion season, and spent the 2006-07 season as head coach of his hometown Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the British Columbia Hockey League, leading the team to a 43-12-2 record. Hiller, a 10th-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 1989, played 63 NHL games with L.A., Detroit and the New York Rangers, and finished his career in Germany and Italy before retiring in 2002 and joining Tri-City as an assistant coach.

Ron Choules, 46, will be behind the Team Canada bench for the first time this summer, having just completed his second full season as head coach of the Titan. A scout with Acadie-Bathurst for three years before becoming head coach, Choules served simultaneously as head coach and general manager of the Kahnawake Condors of the Ligue de hockey junior AAA du Québec, where he was a finalist for the league’s Coach of the Year award in 2006-07. A 12th-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1983, Choules played four seasons in the QMJHL with Hull, Trois-Rivières and Quebec from 1981-84 and was named to the league’s second all-star team in 1982-83.
“The under-18 program plays a vital role in the development of Canada’s top young players, both on and off the ice, and we are extremely confident the three coaches we are naming today will continue to assist in that development,” said Brad Pascall, Hockey Canada’s senior director of national men’s teams. “We look forward to working with the coaches this summer as we aim for a third-consecutive gold medal in Europe.”

Hockey Canada will announce details for the National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team’s selection camp in the near future, including the players that will be invited to camp.