The 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship is slated to begin on May 21 in Riga, Latvia. Canada’s last gold medal victory in the tournament came in 2016, as they won their second of back-to-back titles. Since then, Canada has won two silver medals (2017 and 2019), failed to medal once (2018) and saw a tournament cancelled due to a global pandemic (2020). Hockey Canada will hope to reignite the former juggernaut team of the World Championship tournament, and new blood has been added to the managerial team who will build the roster.
General Manager, Roberto Luongo
As per Hockey Canada’s release, Roberto Luongo will serve as the general manager of Hockey Canada’s 2021 IIHF World Championship team. This will mark his first foray into international hockey in a managerial role, but the Montreal, Quebec native is no stranger to Team Canada.
Luongo has proudly donned Team Canada jerseys plenty of times before. He’s represented Canada in three Winter Olympics (2006, 2010 and 2014) where he won gold in both of the latter tournaments. Additionally, he won two golds and a silver medal in his IIHF World Championship playing career. Finally, he nabbed a silver medal in the 1999 World Junior Championship and he won the 2004 World Cup of Hockey with Canada.
Luongo was also named an assistant general manager for the 2022 Winter Olympics team, where he will be in charge of goaltender evaluation. He was a very successful and durable goalie in the NHL, as he is one of three goalies to skate in over 1,000 NHL games. Among the 50 goalies who have played the most career games, Luongo’s career save percentage of .919 ranks second behind only Dominik Hašek. Overall, Luongo is one of the greatest and most durable goalies in hockey history.
Assistant General Manager, Shane Doan
Shane Doan is the Arizona Coyotes’ Chief Hockey Development Officer and skated for the franchise (formerly the Winnipeg Jets and Phoenix Coyotes) for his entire 21-year, 1,540-game career. Throughout his career, he scored 402 goals and dished 570 assists for a total of 972 points.
Doan represented Canada in a number of tournaments. He even played on teams with Luongo, including the 2006 Olympic Team. At the IIHF World Championship in 2003 (gold) and 2005 (silver), they won medals together. Overall, Doan has won one World Cup, two World Championship gold medals and three World Championship silver medals. He has more experience in a managerial role with Canada than Luongo, as he was a consultant in the past for Team Canada.
Scott Salmond Rounds Out the Management
Scott Salmond has been a fixture in building Hockey Canada teams for years now. He has climbed the ladder of Hockey Canada, becoming the senior vice-president of national teams with Hockey Canada in 2018 after serving as vice-president of national teams for four years. Most recently, he helped build the 2021 Canadian World Junior Championship team. He will help oversee Luongo and Doan in the 2021 IIHF World Championship. Additionally, Salmond was recently named an assistant general manager for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Salmond is a veteran of helping to build international teams. He has contributed with Team Canada in management roles for numerous championship teams, including two Olympic Gold Medals (2010, 2014); four IIHF World Championships gold medals (2003 through 2005 and 2016); five IIHF World Junior Championships gold medals (2007 through 2009, 2015 and 2018); one World Cup of Hockey Championship (2016); a Spengler Cup three-peat (2015 through 2017); and more. Overall, he will serve as the veteran of Hockey Canada in the 2021 IIHF World Championship, as neither Doan nor Luongo have been involved in managing Team Canada before.
An Interesting Task at Hand
It will be interesting to see how the 2021 IIHF World Championship roster for Canada is built. The roster consists of players from NHL teams who missed the playoffs, but aside from Buffalo (who is mathematically eliminated), every other team is still in the playoff hunt. Could Sabres’ forward Sam Reinhart, who is from West Vancouver, don the Canadian flag? He’s a consistent 50-point player and has been the team’s best forward this season. What about rookie Dylan Cozens, who has a successful World Junior Championship pedigree and has gotten hot as of late (he has four points in his past five games)?
Another question is if players will want to travel to Riga, Latvia to play during a pandemic. For example, if “Player A” has already won a World Championship in the past, would he be willing to leave North America to participate in the tournament on another continent? Overall, it will be interesting to see how Team Canada’s roster shapes out. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing the team Luongo, Doan and Salmond assemble.
What are your thoughts? Are you excited to see how Team Canada is built, or would you have preferred a different management team at the helm?
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I am a lifelong hockey fan who will be covering the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks here at The Hockey Writers. Before joining The Hockey Writers I spent two years blogging about hockey.
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