Head coach of women’s national team resigns
Dan Church says there wasn’t confidence in him leading the squad to another Olympic gold
Dan Church abruptly stepped down as head coach of the Canadian women’s hockey team saying he felt others lacked confidence in his ability to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.
Church resigned from the job Thursday less than two months before the opening ceremonies of the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
“If there isn’t confidence in what I’m doing, I need to step aside and let the team move on,” Church told The Canadian Press in a phone interview. “I’m heartbroken, to be honest, about the whole situation.”
He did not specify whether it was players or Hockey Canada management who questioned his competence.
“Just discussions I’d had over the last few days made that apparent, in some meetings I’d had with leadership,” Church said. “I think it was just difference of opinion on the direction we were headed.
“In the end, I just decided if I’m getting in the way of where the team needs to go, I need to step aside and let them continue on in the process.”
The move was a bombshell as the 21-player Olympic team was expected to be announced before the end of December. The Canadian women will attempt to win a fourth straight gold medal in Sochi after victories in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Canada is coming off a loss in the final of this year’s world championship to the U.S.
The Canadian women have been training full time in Calgary since August in preparation for the Olympics. Canada was riding a three-game winning streak against archrival U.S. heading into Thursday night’s game between the two countries in Calgary.