Hunter ponders national post

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:26 AM ET

The job of head coach with Canada's world junior team next year in Vancouver could be wide open and London Knights president and head coach Dale Hunter may toss his name in the ring.

"You know me, I don't know what I'm doing from day to day, but I would definitely think about it," Hunter said yesterday.

He played 19 years in the NHL before he and his brother Mark bought the Knights in May 2000.

"I don't know what's going to happen in the future," he said. "You like to have the pressure like that to see what you can do. It's something you'd be proud to do.

"You always come back to sports because you like the pressure of performing. As a player you're performing, as a coach you're still trying to achieve to be as good as you can be."

Hockey Canada will conduct interviews during Memorial Cup week in London in late May.

Brent Sutter, head coach of this year's gold-medal team in Grand Forks, N.D., hasn't said whether he'll return, but speculation is he won't. Sutter is also owner, GM and coach of the Western league's Red Deer Rebels.

Jim Hulton, an assistant with this year's team, said yesterday he likely won't apply.

Hulton, coach of the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs, was also an assistant in 2005 in Helsinki when Canada lost to the U.S. in the final.

He's also been successful with the under-18 program.

"Probably not, just more in consideration for my family and the Frontenacs organization," he said. "The Frontenacs are supportive, but it's two years in a row I've been away (last year with Belleville). I've had a great run with Hockey Canada, but I think it's time to step back and take some time.

"My whole thing has always been not to decide until after our season ends, but right now if my gut was leaning one way or the other, I would say probably not."

Peter DeBoer, coach and GM of the Kitchener Rangers, was also an assistant coach in Grand Forks. He said last night from Kitchener he hasn't given it much thought.

"Obviously the guy that should get it if he wants it again is Brent Sutter," DeBoer said. "I haven't really thought much beyond that. We'll see what he wants to do, then play it by ear.

"But Brent saying 'no' is not the only question. It's a big sacrifice by your organization and your family. I just haven't had time to think. What we accomplished was just settling in and I jumped right back in the fire here."

Canada, which went seven years between junior titles, will ice a young team in Vancouver and the pressure to repeat will be enormous with the event in Canada.

"That never really enters the picture," Hulton said. "I'd coach any time I had the opportunity, no matter where the tournament was or who was on the team."


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