Olympic hockey team to be led by legion of U SPORTS coaches and staff

Halifax, NS- Hockey Canada finalized the coaching staff for the Women’s Olympic Team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, and many names are sure to sound familiar in the U SPORTS world. 

Hockey Canada selected current U SPORTS coaches Troy Ryan, Kori Cheverie and Brad Kirkwood to lead Canada’s women in next year’s Olympics. Jim Midgley, a former U SPORTS coach, also earned a spot behind the bench.

Ryan will serve as the team’s head coach, having been the Women’s National Team’s bench boss since January 2020 and with the team since 2016. Having coached in three world championships and in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Ryan is yet to debut as head coach for his team in a major tournament. The last two world championships have been either cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ryan is coming off his first season coaching the Dalhousie Tigers women’s team, a role he juggled with keeping Team Canada’s morale high from distance and running a trio of camps in the winter, as the team was separated for months by the pandemic. 

Halifax's Troy Ryan takes over reins of national women's hockey team |  SaltWire
Troy Ryan (Hockey Canada)

He’s no stranger to coaching both internationally or close to his hometown in Spryfield, a Halifax suburb. For Canada, Ryan has coached in the U18 Women’s World Championships, men’s World U17 Hockey Challenge, World Junior A Challenge and in the Centennial Cup, Canada’s junior A national championship. 

In Nova Scotia, he is a female coach mentor with the Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic and has coached Atlantic Canada-based teams for national competitions. Plus, he coached the St. Thomas Tommies men’s hockey team from 2011 to 2013.

Cheverie, an assistant coach, also boasts a slew of experience coaching her country. She was an assistant coach on Canada’s gold-winning team at the 2019 U18 Women’s World Championships, before joining the National Team’s staff for the 2020 Rivalry Series against the United States. She was later named an assistant coach for this year’s suspended world championships.

Meet the first woman to coach a Canadian men's university hockey team to a  victory – The Athletic
Kori Cheverie (Ryerson Rams Athletics)

Currently, Cheverie is behind the bench for the Ryerson Rams men’s team, where she has been an assistant on Johnny Duco’s staff since 2016. She’s been around U SPORTS for a long time, dating back to her playing days for the Saint Mary’s Huskies from 2005 to 2010, earning a spot on the AUS first team all-stars three times and consistently finishing as an Academic All-Canadian. 

Like her colleague Ryan, Cheverie hails from Nova Scotia, from New Glasgow. Following her AUS career, she played six seasons with the CWHL’s Toronto Furies, helping them to a Clarkson Cup championship in 2014. She retired as the Furies’ all-time leader in points (82) and games played (152).

Goaltending coach Kirkwood has been with the National Team since 2015, winning medals in multiple world championships and at the 2018 Olympics. The Red Deer, AB, native is the goaltending coach as well for the Calgary Dinos hockey teams and for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. He’s been around Olympic hockey plenty outside his duties with Canada in 2018; he’s worked with Olympic teams from Norway and Kazakhstan earlier in his coaching career.

Brad Kirkwood (UC Dinos)

Midgley is the second assistant coach, alongside Cheverie, on Ryan’s crew. He’s spent the past decade taking on duties between coaching in the German DEL, scouting for the Philadelphia Flyers and serving as an assistant coach for the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs and the Halifax Mooseheads (where he served one season, 2017-18, as head coach). 

Before these jobs, he played and coached several years in the AUS. He played for Saint Mary’s from 1998 to 2002 and joined the Acadia Axemen the next season as an assistant coach, where he would remain for five years. 

The rest of the team’s staff, including equipment managers, therapists and other coaches were also named this week. Some of them also have ties to U SPORTS, like equipment managers Alana Goulden and Serge LeBlanc. Goulden handles equipment duties for Ryerson’s athletic program while LeBlanc works for the Universite de Moncton.

The Beijing Olympics are scheduled to take place from Feb. 4-20, 2022, and could be Canada’s first major tournament back in action in almost three years, depending on what happens with this year’s world championship. There is discussion around rescheduling and possibly relocating this year’s competition for sometime in the summer but nothing is finalized at this point.

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