Schuler returns to Olympics as Canada’s coach

CALGARY — Laura Schuler just bought a house in New Hampshire. She won’t be living in it much this year.

Schuler will relocate to Calgary in July and begin preparing for what she and the country hope will be a fifth straight Olympic gold medal in women’s hockey next year in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Hockey Canada named the 46-year-old from Toronto head coach of the Olympic team Wednesday.

“The journey is going to be incredible and it’s also going to be incredibly hard,” Schuler told The Canadian Press.

The 28 players invited to try out for the team will be announced Thursday. Those who aren’t based in Calgary will move there Aug. 1 to start training for the Winter Games in February.

Schuler is the first former player to serve as Canada’s head coach.

She was a tenacious, abrasive forward with a hard shot in 1998 when women’s hockey made its Olympic debut. Schuler and her teammates won silver in Nagano, Japan.

“You see in the NHL all the time where former players become coaches,” Schuler said. “It speaks to where we are in terms of our development in female hockey in Canada and I think that’s tremendous.”

Dwayne Gylywoychuk of Winnipeg and Troy Ryan of Springfield, N.S., join Schuler as assistant coaches. Calgary’s Brad Kirkwood is the goaltending coach.

Schuler is 12-8 behind Canada’s bench in world championships, Four Nations Cups and a two-game exhibition series with the United States over the last two seasons.

The Canadians lost 3-2 and 1-0 in overtime to the Americans in the 2017 and 2016 world championship finals respectively.

Melody Davidson, Hockey Canada’s general manager of national women’s team programs, chose Schuler and her assistants in consultation with president and chief executive officer Tom Renney and chief operating officer Scott Smith.

“Anything and everything that can help this team be successful she will use, explore, implement,” Davidson said of Schuler. “I know there will be no stone left unturned. That’s just what former players bring.

“She knows and understands the game. She knows how she wants to operate and how she wants to play. She knows what she wants the identity of her team to be. I’m excited to see how she’s going to take that and run with it.

“This staff has incredible chemistry and that will allow our coaches to perform to a standard of excellence that we expect.”

The Canadian women didn’t finish with the head coach they started with in 2013-14.

Dan Church left the team just eight weeks out from the 2014 Winter Games citing Hockey Canada’s lack of confidence in him.

He was quickly replaced by then-unemployed NHL coach Kevin Dineen, who is now an assistant with the Chicago Blackawks.

Trailing the Americans 2-0 with less than four minutes remaining in regulation, the Canadian women pulled out an overtime win to preserve the run of gold.

“We want to make sure we have stability and we have consistency throughout this year,” said Davidson, who coached Canada to gold in 2006 and 2010.

“Certainly we took a look at past situations, myself, Danielle (Sauvageau) in 2002, Shannon (Miller) in ‘98 and what happened in 2014. We looked at all those things and talked about what made them successful or why we had gaps.”

Schuler won world championships with the Canadian women in 1990, 1992 and 1997 and compiled 12 goals and 19 assists in 65 career games.

She’s one of just four players to score four goals in one game, in 1990 against Germany.

The Northeastern University alumnus coached her alma mater from 2004 and 2008 before becoming Miller’s assistant at the University of Minnesota-Duluth for seven years.

Schuler is taking a leave of absence from coaching the Dartmouth Big Green women after one season there to oversee the Olympic team.

Schuler and wife Jessica Flink bought their house near Dartmouth just a few weeks ago. Flink will remain there with their two dogs while Schuler shepherds the Canadian women towards Pyeongchang.

“I wouldn’t be able to do something like this without her support,” Schuler said. “She’s been tremendous through this entire journey and always been that person by my side.”

Just Posted

Man killed in collision near Markerville

A 55-year-old man is dead after a collision near Markerville Friday night.… Continue reading

La Loche school shooter carried out plan with ‘stark efficiency:’ Crown

MEADOW LAKE, Sask. — A Saskatchewan judge is weighing whether a teenager… Continue reading

Castor triple-murder trial resumes on Monday

Trial was delayed two weeks for two men accused of killing Castor-area family

Red Deer Royals are sending 1,000 letters to Trudeau

The band must pay for the last 20 per cent of fieldhouse costs

Central Alberta real estate market reflects Alberta’s slow recovery

Real estate markets will bounce back but incoming mortgage changes don’t help, say realtor groups

WATCH: A magical Harry Potter weekend in downtown Red Deer

Wizards, witches and muggles are flocking to downtown Red Deer to celebrate… Continue reading

B.C. ice rink where 3 people died remains closed due to safety concerns

FERNIE, B.C. — Residents who were forced from their homes because of… Continue reading

Trudeau condemns appointment of Mugabe as WHO ambassador

EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the appointment of Zimbabwe President… Continue reading

Friday Oct. 21: Winning Lotto Numbers

Friday, October 20, 2017 LOTTO MAX Winning Numbers 1 4 12 27… Continue reading

New northbound Hwy 2 lanes at Gaetz Avenue to open this Sunday

Drivers heading north through Red Deer on Hwy 2 will have a… Continue reading

Sockey Night at Saturday’s Rebels game

United Way Central Alberta is determined to provide warm feet for all… Continue reading

Canadian planet hunter seeking alien life

‘The shifting line of what is crazy’ says Toronto-born astrophysicist

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

4 B.C. prisons install body scanners to combat drug smuggling

The scanners are aimed to combat the smuggling of contraband including weapons and drugs

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month