Team Canada will have a lot to live up to at the 2016 World Championship, and it will be up to Flames GM Brad Treliving and former Washington Capitals GM George McPhee to build a club that can defend last year’s perfect gold medal.
Hockey Canada announced Wednesday that Treliving and McPhee have been tapped as co-GMs for the 2016 World Championship, which is set to take place in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia beginning in May. Treliving and McPhee will also get a hand from St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong, who will take over as senior advisor for the club. For McPhee, this will be back-to-back seasons on the management team, while Treliving will get his second turn with Team Canada in the past three seasons.
Even though Armstrong will hope to be tied up with the Blues’ post-season run come May, Hockey Canada’s president and chief executive officer Tom Renney said the choice to add him to the management staff was in hopes of creating some cohesion between the World Championship and World Cup squads.
“It was important for us to be able to have a strong management group focused on men’s worlds who could also support the crossover needs we have with the members of our World Cup group,” said Renney. “With George returning from last year’s world championship team to share responsibilities for this year’s team with Brad, and the crossover with Doug and Scott (Salmond, vice president of hockey operations), we feel we have the right resources in place to accomplish all that we have set out for ourselves over the course of the championship.”
Canada’s 2015 World Championship squad was one of the best teams assembled by any nation in the history of the tournament. In the round robin portion, Canada went 7-0 and remained perfect in winning the gold medal. Three Canadian players — Taylor Hall, Jason Spezza and Brent Burns — were named to the media all-star team, and Canada won a $1 million Swiss francs jackpot for earning each of their victories in regulation. Repeating that feat will be difficult.
Treliving and McPhee will be part of the group that names Canada’s coaching staff at the competition. Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McLellan was the bench boss at the 2015 World Championship, and there are a number of interesting candidates to take the duty this season, including former NHL coach Marc Crawford, who is looking for his opportunity to get back into the NHL after four seasons coaching in the Swiss NLA. Mike Babcock could also be an intriguing option as he prepares to coach Canada at the World Cup.
Rosters for the World Championship are generally announced mid-April following the conclusion of the NHL season. Only seven players from last year’s preliminary 19-player roster are currently on team’s outside of post-season contention. Those players are goaltender Mike Smith, defenseman David Savard and forwards Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Tyler Ennis and Ryan O’Reilly.