Former Rockets goaltender Kelly Guard named to Canada’s 2023 World Junior coaching staff
With less than two months until the puck drops on the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, Hockey Canada has named the staff that will lead Canada’s National Junior Team in its gold medal defence in Halifax, N.S., and Moncton, N.B.
Included in the coaching staff is former Kelowna Rockets goaltender Kelly Guard, who will serve as the goaltending consultant.
Dennis Williams (Stratford, Ont./Everett, WHL) returns to take the reins as head coach after helping Canada to a gold medal at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship as an assistant coach. He will be joined by assistant coaches Stéphane Julien (Shawinigan, Que./Sherbrooke, QMJHL), Brent Kisio (Calgary, Alta./Lethbridge, WHL) and Alan Letang (Renfrew, Ont./Sarnia, OHL), as well as goaltending consultant Kelly Guard (Prince Albert, Sask./Prince Albert, WHL) and video coach James Emery (Calgary, Alta.).
The coaching staff was selected by Alan Millar (Tottenham, Ont.), director of player personnel, James Boyd (Midland, Ont./Ottawa, OHL), who returns as the U20 lead for the Program of Excellence management group after helping assemble the team that won gold at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, and Scott Salmond (Creston, B.C.), senior vice-president of hockey operations.
Guard, who joined the Raiders as their goaltender coach prior to the 2012-2013 season, spent two seasons with the Kelowna Rockets. He won the WHL Championship in 2003 and Memorial Cup in 2004. During the 2004 Memorial Cup, the Prince Albert product set a Canadian Hockey League record for lowest goals-against average, surrendering 0.75 goals per game en route to being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Guard was the goaltending coach on Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team that won gold at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup this summer.
Canada’s National Junior Team will gather at the Avenir Centre in Moncton for a four-day selection camp, Dec. 9-12, before selecting a final roster ahead of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship. The selection camp roster will be announced in the coming weeks.