Canada names Olympic men’s hockey coach

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Willie Desjardins was named Canada’s men’s hockey coach for the Olympics on Tuesday, three months after the Vancouver Canucks fired him after three seasons.

Desjardins, 60, will coach the first Canadian Olympic team without NHL participation since the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games.

Sean Burke, a 1988 and 1992 Canadian Olympic goalie, is the general manager.

With NHL players, Canada won the 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles. In PyeongChang, Canada can become the first nation to three-peat as Olympic men’s hockey champion since the Soviet Union in 1976.

Canada will use a series of tournaments in the next several months to evaluate players before it names its 25-man Olympic team.

Former NHL players Cam BarkerBen Scrivens and Max Talbot all played last season in the Russian KHL, which does take an Olympic break. All three will play for Canada in games in Russia in August.

Players in the American Hockey League, the top NHL feeder league, who aren’t on NHL contracts will also be eligible for PyeongChang.

Every Canadian Olympic men’s coach in the NHL participation era was also an NHL head coach that season — Marc Crawford (1998), Pat Quinn (2002 and 2006) and Mike Babcock (2010 and 2014).

The U.S. Olympic men’s hockey coach is expected to be announced in early August.

MORE: NHL releases schedule with no Olympic break

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