11/26: TSN’s Darren Dreger has confirmed much of Friedman’s initial report this morning, reporting that Julien will indeed be the bench boss of the Spengler Cup team with Boudreau as his assistant and notes that this staff will in fact coach in the Olympics if the NHL pulls out. However, Dreger didn’t stop there. He reports that Julien’s second assistant will be Scott Walker and the architect of the roster as GM will be a former Canadian Olympian in Shane Doan.
11/25: The NHL’s participation in the 2022 Beijing Olympics is still not set in stone, with a January opt-out date still upcoming. Should the league feel as though there have been too many COVID-related postponements to afford a three-week break, they could pull the plug on the whole thing and reorganize their schedule without the international competition. If that were the case, suddenly the Canadian and U.S. teams would be without a coaching staff as well, because right now it is NHL bench bosses set to lead the groups.
In Canada’s case, it’s Jon Cooper, head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning that will be in control of the men’s team, alongside assistants Bruce Cassidy (Boston Bruins), Pete DeBoer (Vegas Golden Knights), and Barry Trotz (New York Islanders). If the NHL doesn’t go, neither do they, meaning a new staff would have to be brought in.
They’re already preparing for that instance, as Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet tweets. Claude Julien is expected to coach the Canadian contingent at the Spengler Cup in late December, and would take over the Olympic squad if the NHL doesn’t participate. He’s expected to be joined by Bruce Boudreau as an assistant coach, though Friedman does note that this is assuming neither is hired elsewhere in the meantime.
The Spengler Cup roster would likely have a large amount of crossover with the Olympic unit if the NHL chooses not to go, though some AHL, junior or college players would also likely be involved. With coaches like Julien and Boudreau, they would also have NHL-level coaching even if the league failed to participate.