Everett Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams will represent Hockey Canada this November as he steps behind the bench for Team Canada Black at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Also carrying the WHL flag at the annual U-17 event will be Moose Jaw Warriors assistant coach Mark O’Leary, who will serve as an assistant coach on Team Canada Red.
The 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is scheduled for November 3-10 in Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B.
“Many thanks go to Hockey Canada for an incredible opportunity to serve behind the bench at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and along with Team Canada Black assistant coaches Sylvain Favreau and Troy Smith,” said Williams. “It’s an extremely exciting challenge that makes me look forward to meeting all of the staff and players who will participate, including Ronan Seeley who earned a well-deserved opportunity. I’m ready to embrace the task of helping develop an excellent camp experience and prepare players for tournament competition.”
Favreau (Halifax, QMJHL) and Smith (Saginaw, OHL) will join Williams behind the Team Canada Black bench.
“It’s an exciting day for us to congratulate head coach Dennis Williams on a hard-earned opportunity to serve as a coach for Hockey Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge,” said Garry Davidson, General Manager of the Silvertips. “Dennis has deserved this on the merit of getting the most out of his players, his dedication, character, and leadership abilities. We’re confident he’ll be a tremendous representative of the Silvertips.”
Williams, a 38-year-old native of Stratford, Ont., recently completed his first season as head coach of the Silvertips, leading the team to its second-consecutive U.S. Division title. Under his leadership, the Silvertips set a franchise record with 246 goals and finished the season with 47 wins, the second-most in team history. The club staked out a WHL Western Conference Championship, advancing to the WHL Championship Series before eventually falling to the Ed Chynoweth Cup champion Swift Current Broncos. Williams was also named WHL Western Conference Coach of the Year for the 2017-18 season.
As for O’Leary, he will work with head coach Louis Robitaille (Victoriaville, QMJHL) on the Team Canada Red bench.
O’Leary has been an assistant coach with the Warriors since the 2012-13 season. Following three seasons playing in the OHL – for Mississauga and Guelph – O’Leary headed to the Lone Star State to play in the CHL, where he ended his career in 2010-11 after stints in the ECHL and AHL. He served alongside head coach Tim Hunter as the Warriors laid claim to the first Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy in franchise history, earning the WHL’s regular season title for the 2017-18 season.
“This country produces not only great players, but also great coaches. We had a tremendous amount of very qualified applicants, and the decisions were not easy,” said Shawn Bullock, Hockey Canada’s senior manager of hockey operations and men’s national teams. “The coaches we selected to lead our national men’s under-17 teams this summer and at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge have considerable coaching experience from many different levels of hockey. Each coach brings something unique to the program, and we look forward to their leadership as they help develop the top young players in Canada.”
For more information on Hockey Canada and the Program of Excellence, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow through social media on Facebook, Twitter and Twitter.com/HC_Men.