The University of Vermont Catamounts’ head coach Todd Woodcroft has been named as an assistant coach for the 2021 Swedish National Junior Team set to participate in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton, AB. from December 25 to January 5. With Team Sweden, Woodcroft will work remotely in a scouting role both prior to and following the tournament.
“The invitation from Tomas Montén and the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation to serve as an assistant coach for the Juniorkronorna at the ’21 World Junior Championships is truly an honor,” the former Winnipeg Jets assistant coach said in a Catamounts press release. “I have had the opportunity to work with Team Sweden on two separate occasions (World Cup, 2016/World Championships, 2017), coaching alongside Tomas and winning a Gold Medal together in the process. I am humbled by his opinion of me as a coach and I am excited to continue to learn from him as we prepare for the best junior tournament in the world.”
The reigning bronze medalist Sweden boasts a highly-talented defensive corps and many returning players from last year’s squad. However, on Saturday, the team was dealt a significant blow, as highly-rated 2021 draft-eligible prospect William Eklund will not be able to participate in the tournament as he has tested positive for COVID-19.
Working alongside familiar names Mark Stuart and Mike Babcock on the Catamounts’ coaching staff, Woodcroft has recently seen the men’s hockey team put all team activities on pause, following four positive COVID-19 test results within the team. Although the cases may not stem directly from players, four positive tests within the players, coaches, managers and training staff throughout the past week of testing was enough to halt all hockey activity for the near future.
“The men’s hockey program is following state, local and University public health guidelines, to ensure the health and safety of all student-athletes, coaches, staff and the campus and surrounding community,” read a statement from the team’s official website. After having eight games already postponed, the team is schedule to face-off against Northeastern University on December 26 and 27… unless further restrictions disallow.
Woodcroft, 47, signed a five-year contract with UVM this spring, that will see the Toronto product earn $275K annually following the conclusion of the pandemic. During the pandemic, he is making $165K per year. Prior to joining Vermont, Woodcroft spent approximately years within the NHL’s coaching circles.
Part of Group B, Sweden’s will battle the United States, Russia, Czech Republic and Austria in the round robin, while taking on the Czechs in the opening game of the tournament on December 26. All games will be broadcasted live on TSN this holiday season.