Burke and Desjardins to lead Team Canada
Sean Burke and Willie Desjardins have been charged with finding and leading non-National Hockey League talent for Team Canada at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
Burke will serve as Canada’s GM for the 2017-18 season with former Canucks coach Desjardins behind the bench.
Burke, a pro scout with the Canadiens, will be aided on the management side by another former goaltender in Martin Brodeur, assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues.
With the NHL electing not to participate in South Korea, Canada will be without the marquee names that won gold at the 2002, 2010 and 2014 Olympics. Pyeongchang ends a streak of five consecutive Winter Olympics with NHL players.
While many have called this Plan B, Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney sees it differently. “This is our plan, it is our Plan A,” he told a media conference call Tuesday. “It’s a twist of fate for sure, but we love the opportunity thanks to the gentlemen that we have introduced earlier today.”
Other management members are Hockey Canada’s Scott Smith and Scott Salmond. Coaching staff will include assistants Dave King, Scott Walker and Craig Woodcroft.
Hockey Canada says it has been scouting players, with two tournaments next month in Russia kicking off the road to Pyeongchang.
The rosters for those events — the Sochi Hockey Open Aug. 6-9 and the Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov in St. Petersburg, Aug. 14-17 — have already been stocked with the likes of former NHLers Max Talbot, Derek Roy, Mason Raymond, Ben Scrivens, Justin Peters and Cam Barker — all now playing in Europe.