TORONTO -- Peter DeBoer is going to be a wanted man this summer and Hockey Canada has him square in its sights.
DeBoer, the general manager and coach of the Kitchener Rangers, is at the top of Hockey Canada's list to coach Canada at the world junior championship next winter in Ottawa, sources have confirmed.
DeBoer, who turns 40 on June 13, has interviewed for the job.
"I would love to do it and it is something I have wanted to do for a long time," DeBoer said yesterday.
"The Hockey Canada experience, for me, has been a great one."
DeBoer, among other assignments with Hockey Canada, was an assistant at the world junior in 1998 and 2005.
One small hiccup that could stand in the way of DeBoer getting the head job is whether he goes to the NHL next season. Hockey Canada wants to name its junior coach no later than the first week of June, and if signs point to DeBoer getting an NHL job, it might go in a different direction. It's possible Hockey Canada would name DeBoer the coach anyway and replace him later if he goes to the NHL.
Many think DeBoer is ready to take the jump up to the NHL, and his name has been mentioned in rumours regarding the coaching vacancies of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Ottawa Senators and the Atlanta Thrashers.
Even if his Rangers, who won the Memorial Cup opener on Friday night, do not win the Cup, DeBoer has nothing left to prove at the major junior level. His Rangers won the Memorial Cup in 2003 and he has a history of sending good prospects to the NHL. Among those who have learned under DeBoer and assistant Steve Spott in recent years include Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers, Derek Roy of the Buffalo Sabres, Stephen Weiss of the Florida Panthers and Justin Williams of the Carolina Hurricanes.