Lindy Ruff, Ken Hitchcock and Jacques Lemaire will be assistant coaches to Mike Babcock on Canada’s 2010 men’s Olympic hockey team, sources tell CTVOlympics.ca.
The team’s executive director, Steve Yzerman, is expected to officially introduce all four coaches in a news conference Thursday morning in Montreal, including Red Wings coach Mike Babcock as head coach.
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What can you say? These are some great hockey minds. Hitchcock is the veteran of this group, having coached in 2002, 2004 and 2006 with Team Canada. Ruff recently coached the Canadian team at the World Championships and that was obviously a first step to joining this elite coaching group. The one hire that catches me somewhat off-guard is that of Jacques Lemaire. Not that he isn’t qualified, because he may be the most qualified of the bunch, but it is interesting that he is the one coach who won’t be coaching in the NHL next season (unless Jersey and him come to an agreement). So, expect Lemaire to be scouting around the league along with Yzerman, et al.
All in all, these are all qualified candidates with Stanley Cup experience that are a perfect combination of motivators, system specialists and leaders. I can’t see how any Team Canada fans can be unhappy with these hires.