CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada announced the addition of five staff to serve as coaches alongside head coach Ken Babey (Saskatoon, Sask.) at Canada’s National Para Hockey Team selection camp, Sept. 1-8 in Calgary.
Mike Foligno (Sudbury, Ont.), Mike Fountain (Gravenhurst, Ont.) and Scott Walker (Cambridge, Ont./Vancouver, NHL) will support Babey throughout various tournaments and events during the 2018-19 season. Maxime Gagnon (Longueuil, Que.) and Dan Lacroix (Montreal) were also named to the selection camp as guest coaches.
“The success, experience and skill set of all the coaches is a tremendous asset to our program as we look toward naming the players for the national team this season,” said Babey. “The opportunity to have them mentor our players and assist in the evaluation process will only benefit us and give us the best chance to compete and win on the international stage.”
Foligno coached Canada’s National Para Hockey Development Team for a three-game series against the United States at the Défi sportif AlterGo in Montreal in April. He first joined Hockey Canada in September 2017, serving as a guest coach for its selection camp. Foligno mentored and evaluated players in preparation for international competition throughout the year, including the final training camp and pre-Paralympic series against the U.S. As a player, Foligno spent 15 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) with stops in Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, and Toronto. In 1,018 career NHL games, he tallied 727 points and 355 goals. He registered career-highs while playing for the Buffalo Sabres in the 1985-86 season, scoring 41 goals and 80 points. Foligno’s resume includes stints behind the bench as an assistant coach with Anaheim, Colorado, New Jersey, and Toronto. He also spent time as head coach of the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears and head coach and general manager of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sudbury Wolves.
Fountain’s Hockey Canada experience includes playing for Canada’s National Men’s Team during the 1992-93 season. He won the 1992 Spengler Cup and played for Canada at the 1992 IIHF World Junior Championship. Drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in 1992, Fountain had a 17-year pro career (1992-2009) which included the NHL, AHL, IHL, UHL, Russia and Germany.
Walker won a bronze medal as an assistant coach with Canada at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. He won a gold medal as an assistant coach with Canada at the 2017 International Para Hockey Tournament in Turin, Italy. Walker won a gold medal as head coach of Team Canada White at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship and with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2012 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament. He added a bronze medal as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship. Walker represented Canada as a player three times (1999, 2001, 2005) at the IIHF World Championship, winning a silver medal in 2005. He amassed 829 NHL games over 17 years with Vancouver, Nashville, Carolina and Washington, recording 397 points, including 151 goals.
Gagnon has served as a guest coach at Canada’s National Para Hockey Team selection camp for the past two years. Gagnon was also a camp coach at Canada’s NextGen Prospects Camp in 2016. He is the head coach of Quebec’s provincial para hockey team and general manager of Hockey sur luge Montreal. Gagnon also serves as director of the Défi sportif AlterGo and organized the first Canadian sledge hockey championships in 2016.
Lacroix spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens after stops in the same role with the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders. Lacroix spent the 2009-10 season as an assistant coach with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League and four seasons as an assistant coach with the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He had a 13-year NHL career with Boston, Edmonton, the Islanders, Rangers and Philadelphia, and also played in the AHL, ECHL, IHL and England.
28 PLAYERS INVITED TO SELECTION CAMP
Twenty-eight players have been invited to the seven-day selection camp, which is part of the evaluation process used to determine which players will represent Canada during the 2018-19 season. The players will participate in a number of on- and off-ice activities, including fitness testing, classroom sessions and three intrasquad games.
Among the camp invites, nine players (Bridges, Cozzolino, Dunn, Gemmell, Hickey, Larocque, McGregor, Smith, Watson) earned a silver medal at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea in March.
Following the camp, players will continue to be involved in training and regional camps leading into the Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup, Dec. 2-8 in London, Ont., along with a cross-border series with the United States in March, and the IPC World Para Hockey Championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic in April.