With little more than one year to go before the beginning of the World Cup, the management teams for the European team and the North American Under-23 squad have been announced.
In a tandem effort, the North American unit will be built under the guidance of Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli and Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman. While both Chiarelli and Bowman have had Stanley Cup success, only Chiarelli has been involved in international competition before with Team Canada. While still GM of the Boston Bruins, Chiarelli served as a member of Hockey Canada’s management group at the 2013 World Championship and the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
For Bowman, this will be his first foray into international management. Though he has been the GM of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks for each of the team’s three Stanley Cup wins over the past six seasons, he has never had his name called to aid Hockey Canada. The Montreal native has spent the past 15 seasons with the Blackhawks, but only the past seven as Chicago’s GM.
As GMs of the Under-23 team, Chiarelli and Bowman will be tasked with creating a roster of the best North American players available that fit the age criteria. The age cutoff for the “young stars” squad is Oct. 1, 2016 — any player who has his 24th birthday before then won’t be eligible for the team.
To level the playing field, no players under 23 will be eligible to compete for either the Canadian or American national teams at the World Cup. That means players such as Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jack Eichel, Brandon Saad and goaltender John Gibson will all be available for the squad.
When it comes to who will head up the European team, former NHLer Miroslav Satan will get GM duties. The 40-year-old Satan retired following the 2013-14 campaign and will make his international management debut as part of the World Cup tournament.
In selecting his team, Satan will be able to choose from players from nations including his home country, Slovakia, as well as Switzerland, Austria, Belarus, Denmark, Latvia, Norway, Slovenia, France and Germany. The number of eligible players for Satan to choose from will make his job much easier, as stars such as Anze Kopitar, Marian Hossa, Roman Josi and Frederik Andersen — all from different countries — will be able to suit up on the same roster.
Though he has no management experience, the 2016 World Cup will be his third such tournament. As a player, Satan competed at both the 1996 and 2004 World Cups.