Coach won't be Hitched

TERRY JONES, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

QUEBEC CITY -- His players, many of them, are here hoping to position themselves to be selected to play for Canada in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Not their coach.

Ken Hitchcock believes he shouldn't be picked.

"I feel strongly about that," said the Edmonton native who coached the Dallas Stars to a Stanley Cup and was out of the playoffs this year coaching the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I had my kick at it. I coached in two Olympics," he said of being a member of Pat Quinn's Olympic teams under Wayne Gretzky.

"I don't think it should be the same four or five guys every time. I enjoyed it. But there are a lot of good coaches who also deserve a chance. Other guys should get a chance to have the same experience I've had."

Hitchcock is in his first head coaching assignment for Team Canada at the IIHF World Hockey Championships. He's previously been an assistant.

He said Hockey Canada came hard at him to take this job. "They were relentless," he said.

And he didn't say no. He said he wouldn't say no if Canada asked him to coach in 2010 because you answer when Canada calls.

But he really believes others ought to have the opportunity.

That said, he wants to succeed with this opportunity.

"It's the same sort of coaching experience," he said.

"You have to approach it so much different because of the lack of time involved to become a team.

"It's like this practice," he said of the second day of the team being on the ice together in preparation for the first pre-tournament game here tonight against Finland.

"You could sure tell the difference by the colour of their faces.

"The first day there was a lot more colour in their faces. Today their colour was all the same. There was a lot more jump today."

He said being a head coach involves trying to keep to the plan they had when they got together here three days ago and met for six hours to put the plan in place.

"You plan for the long term, aiming at the first game against Slovenia in Halifax. I know after the first game there will suddenly be 25 different things you think about doing short term.

"My job is to try to stick to the long term."

But not the 2010 long term.


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