TORONTO, ONT – Team Canada’s men’s and women’s hockey teams will go to the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Winter Games with gold on their minds.
After missing out on the chance to lead the men’s team at Lucerne 2021, UNB Reds Head Coach Gardiner MacDougall makes his way back into the fold to lead the team in Northern New York. Meanwhile, uOttawa Gee-Gees assistant coach Greg Bowles takes on the women’s role, stepping in for Jon Rempel, who had the gig for the cancelled Swiss games.
The Lake Placid 2023 Winter University Games run from Jan 12-22 in Lake Placid, NY and the surrounding areas.
Gardiner MacDougall returns to the bench
UNB’s Gardiner MacDougall returns for the Lake Placid Games as Team Canada joins Czechia, Great Britain, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Latvia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Sweden and Russia in the men’s hockey competition.
“This is a special lifetime opportunity and privilege to represent U SPORTS at this world championship,” MacDougall said in a press release. “Events such as this bring out the very best in both our players and coaches, and we look forward to helping create a special high-performance journey of growth and achievement for our team.”
MacDougall had been tipped to lead the Canadian team at the last Games and had selected a roster that assembled briefly but was never able to compete or fly to Switzerland.
Since being named as the head coach for Lucerne, MacDougall has added a CHL Memorial Cup Championship to his resume, with a brief foray into the short tournament with the Saint John Sea Dogs in the spring, providing him a trophy despite UNB falling out of the U CUP in the quarter-finals.
The PEI native also led the Canadian men’s hockey teams to FISU Winter World University Games victories in 2007 and 2013.
Calgary Dinos head coach Mark Howell returns as General Manager for Lake Placid, helping MacDougall with team selection ahead of the Games. Additionally, Western’s Clarke Singer, uOttawa’s Patrick Grandmaitre, Queen’s Brett Gibson and Toronto’s Ryan Medel will serve as assistant/video coaches and OUA representatives. UNB’s Ryan Sweeny joins as athletic therapist, with Saskatchewan’s Cord Ivanco the group’s equipment manager.
Greg Bowles tipped to lead women’s team
Bowles was selected as an assistant for the cancelled Lucerne 2021 Games, and brings over 20 years of coaching experience to the fold, as Canada looks to reach the top of the podium after winning silver at the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Games.
“This will be my third time going through this process with FISU as well as several of the Hockey Canada Summer Showcase events,” Bowles said in a press release. “We are excited about the mountain in front of us and not overwhelmed whatsoever about whether or not it’ll consume us.”
Serving as General Manager will be women’s hockey legend Daniele Sauvageau of the Montreal Carabins. Meanwhile, Guelph Gryphons coach Katie Mora joins as an assistant coach. Laurier’s Kelly Paton and UNB’s Sarah Hilwroth will also serve as assistant coaches, while UNB’s Kyle MacDonald is the team’s goaltending coach. As well, Waterloo’s Jacqueline Schwantz will travel to Lake Placid as the group’s athletic therapist.
“This group has great energy; they want to be prepared, they want to be ready,” Bowles said. When you have a coaching staff that is motivated and wants to ensure that they have covered every aspect prior to the question even being asked, it instills confidence. We trust that this will convey over to the athletes, and they will have the same confidence to know that before the puck is dropped that we have covered every scenario that we need to be prepared for.”
Canada’s women will compete in the six-team women’s hockey competition alongside Great Britain, Japan, USA, Czechia, and Slovakia when the Games begin on Jan. 12, 2023.