Can Canada get some ‘Love’ from northern B.C.?
Turns out, they can as a coach from our region has been selected to be on Hockey Canada’s new staff for its National Under-20 team at the 2020 World Junior Tournament.
Mitch Love of Quesnel, roughly an hour drive south of Prince George, was shortlisted by the organization today (May 14) to join Canada’s quest for a second World Junior gold in three years.
The 34-year-old will serve as an assistant coach, alongside André Tourigny (Ottawa), working with Head Coach Dale Hunter (London, Ontario).
In his inaugural season as the bench boss of the Saskatoon Blades, Love got the franchise back in the Western Hockey League (WHL) playoffs for the first time since 2013, posting a record of 45-15-0-8 and a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference.
@BladesHockey It was a pleasure to work with such a first class group of players & staff. @BladesHockey fans we can’t thank you enough for all your support this past @TheWHL season. @cityofsaskatoon you are truly a great hockey city. #bladeecity https://t.co/zaVVeyvWKP— Mitch Love (@mlovehockey) April 18, 2019
The Blades lost in the divisional finals to the eventual WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders.
This was also Love’s first head coaching gig after spending the previous eight years as the assistant coach of the Everett Silvertips.
He does have international experience, recently leading Prince George Cougars goaltender Taylor Gauthier and Team Canada to the gold medal at the 2018 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup as their assistant coach.
Canada lost to Finland in the quarter-finals at last year’s tournament in Vancouver.
The 2020 World Junior Hockey Championships are taking place in the Czech Republic starting Dec. 26, 2019.