St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong speaks during a news conference naming Craig Berube interim head coach of the NHL hockey team Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in St. Louis. Armstrong will be general manager for Canada's men's Olympic hockey team if NHL players are able to participate next year in Beijing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Jeff Roberson

St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong gets same role for Canadian men’s Olympic team

St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong gets same role for Canadian men’s Olympic team

CALGARY — Doug Armstrong will be the general manager of Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey team if NHL players participate next year in Beijing.

Hockey Canada announced Wednesday the St. Louis Blues GM has secured the top role after serving on the management team that helped the country win gold medals in Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014.

“Any time you’re asked to participate for Hockey Canada, it’s a great honour,” Armstrong said during a news conference in St. Louis. “Certainly at the Olympics, working with the guys I get to work with is going to be a special thrill. We’re hoping the NHL and the NHLPA can continue to find a way to get us there. We’ll work towards (the event) like we’re going.”

Armstrong, who was also GM of Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, won the Stanley Cup in 2019 and the NHL’s GM of the year award in 2011-12.

“I sort of use the analogy it’s like playing Russian roulette being the manager of Team Canada,” Armstrong said. “It’s exhilarating, it’s nervousness and it’s a lot of fun and you only get to lose once.

“You know the rules going in. There’s great expectations in Canada to put a team on the ice that’s productive, that fights and wins gold medals. That’s our goal going in. You understand the pressures that goes with it. You understand there’s 38 million people that are going to have questions about the team we pick. You just move on and do the best you can and hope it works out.”

Canada management staff for the 2022 Olympics also includes associate general manager Ken Holland of the Edmonton Oilers, assistant general managers Ron Francis of the Seattle Kraken, Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers, Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins and senior vice-president of national teams Scott Salmond of Hockey Canada.

The management group will be overseen by Hockey Canada president Tom Renney and chief operating officer Scott Smith.

“Under Doug’s leadership, as well as that of our entire management group, we’re thrilled to task them to lead us into 2022, with the opportunity to oversee our staff and players as they compete for an Olympic gold medal,” Renney said in a statement.

The NHL declined to participate in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, after sending its players to the five previous Olympics.

But the league and the NHL Players’ Association greenlighted negotiations with the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation on participation at the 2022 and 2026 Winter Games when the two sides extended the current collective bargaining agreement in July.

Canada won bronze with a team made up of mostly European-based professionals in 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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