The Canadian Junior Hockey League has announced its coaching staff for both Team Canada East and Team Canada West, to whom were to be tasked the leaders of the teams set to participate in the now cancelled 2020 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge this coming December in Cornwall, ON. Although originally postponed and then outright cancelled, the names of the much deserving individuals on the coaching staff were officially made public.
Martin Dagenais of the Ottawa Junior Senators was to serve as head coach of Canada East, while Brian Maloney of the Chilliwack Chiefs was to be head coach of Canada West. Named as one of Maloney’s three assistants was Steinbach Pistons head coach/general manager Paul Dyck.
Dyck, , led the Pistons to a league-best 42-10-8 60-game season, where the team finished first with a +81 goal differential. Steinbach’s 10 regulation losses was also a head and shoulders above the crowd. Finishing the year with a .767 winning percentage, Dyck and the Pistons were the only team to complete the opening round of the postseason, finishing off the Winnipeg Blues in four games prior to COVID-19 shutdown.
“Its unfortunate that the 2020 WJAC was officially cancelled, but in times like these, everyone’s health and safety is much more important,” said Jamie McCaig, Director of Operations for Canada West in a statement. “Having said that, we felt that announcing our selected staff was the right thing to do for the successful candidates, their respective club teams as well as their respective leagues. At the conclusion of a very thorough application and interview process, I am confident that we selected a first-class staff that would have represented the west very well. All of these coaches deserve the honour and recognition that comes with being associated with Hockey Canada and the CJHL.”
The eight coaches selected to lead the charge went a combined 291-137-34 last season with their respective teams, while boasting a total winning percentage of .667.
“While the cancellation of the annual World Junior A Challenge is a disappointment, we are all supportive of the process undertaken to arrive at the decision and of the decision itself,” CJHL president Brent Ladds said in a league-issued statement. “Ensuring the safety of our athletes, officials, volunteers, staff and fans is paramount during these current conditions. We appreciate the support we received through the evaluation process from Hockey Canada and the National Hockey League. We are grateful to the host committee in Cornwall, Ont., for their never wavering commitment and look forward to working with them again.”