MacT expects top quality

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:07 AM ET

Team Canada will be loaded with NHL stars, thanks to the lockout, and so will the coaching staff with the additions of assistants Craig MacTavish and Tom Renney. NHL head coaches MacTavish of the Edmonton Oilers and Renney of the New York Rangers were named yesterday as assistants to Marc Habscheid for the 2005 world hockey championship April 30-May 15 in Austria.

MacTavish will be making his second tour of duty with Team Canada after serving as Habscheid's assistant in December at the 2004 Loto Cup in Slovakia, winning bronze.

"As coaches, we're all works in progress," said MacTavish, the Oilers bench boss the past four NHL seasons.

"Every coach is actively trying to increase his experience in the game of hockey."

MacTavish said the lockout will provide the tournament with an unlimited supply of the world's best players, unlike in past years when teams were limited to selecting skaters from teams ousted from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"As for quality of play, this year's world championships rank a very close second to the World Cup and the Olympics, so it's going to be unprecedented for the amount of players available to play," MacTavish said.

Renney has coached Canada to three world championship gold medals (1995, '96 and 2000) and coached Canada's Olympic entry at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer.

He is the former vice-president of Hockey Canada and one-time head coach of the national team.

Team Canada GM Steve Tambellini, assistant GM Ken Holland, along with Habscheid and his assistant coaches will begin immediately making player selections.

Two pre-tournament games against the U.S. are tentatively slated for April 20 in Halifax and April 22 in Quebec City.

Team Canada's training camp will be held next month at Father David Bauer Arena.


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