The 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship is just around the corner, with Canada once again expected to dominate the tournament with what should be a roster full of future stars. Today, Hockey Canada announced their coaching staff for the championship, headlined by Dennis Williams as their head coach.
Williams sees a promotion from last year’s tournament, where he served as an assistant coach under Dave Cameron. The 43-year-old is a two-time WHL Western Conference Coach of the Year winner with the Everett Silvertips and also served as the head coach for Canada’s “Black” team at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in 2018. He was also an assistant coach at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky U18 tournament.
It’s been quite the coaching ride for Williams, who got his first coaching experience immediately after graduating from Bowling Green University as a graduate assistant in 2002-03. 20 seasons and five leagues later, he gets the call to lead the reigning gold medalists at the top junior tournament in hockey.
Combined success at the World Juniors and as a bench boss in the CHL can often quickly lead to NHL opportunities. It wouldn’t be surprising if Williams found himself on an NHL bench in 2023-24 if Canada can repeat as champions.
Julien, 48, is the head coach of the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix and has held the role for the past seven-and-a-half seasons. He was the head coach for Canada at this year’s edition of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, which ended just two months ago. It’s his first time joining the coaching staff for the U20 team.
Kisio and Letang return to the Canadian bench at the U20 tournament as assistants, reprising the roles that they held in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Guard’s only previous national team experience came as the goaltending coach for Canada White at the 2021 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.