What's Buzzing:

Buzzing The Net

Team Canada turns to Benoit Groulx of QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

View photo


Groulx was slated to coach Canada in 2009 before taking an AHL position

One could say the time has come, again, for Benoît Groulx. Six seasons ago, the Gatineau Olympiques bench boss was tapped to lead Canada at the world junior championship before stepping aside after jumping to an AHL post with the Buffalo Sabres organization.

Pat Quinn, of course, was summoned to lead that 2009 team, and the rest is recent Canadian hockey history. Now Groulx, who has certainly paid his dues after multiple stints as an assistant coach, is getting the chance. Between Groulx, the Guelph Storm's Scott Walker and Victoria Royals' Dave Lowry, the staff offers a contrast of one of the Quebec League's best bench coaches, Walker who presided over a high-scoring OHL championship team and a defensive-minded coach with Walker. Plus there is Groulx's way with doing whatever it takes to try to throw off an opponent, although it remains to be seen whether that can translate to a short tournament such as the WJC.

The Olympiques had a run of three QMJHL championships between 2003 and '08. They haven't reached that level since Groulx returned, but did come within two games of a championship in 2010-11 and have typically punched at or above their weight during the playoffs. Groulx is at a point where he can almost treat the regular season as experimental before shifting into playoff gear; for instance, in 2013 a young Olympiques team finished 13th overall in the 18-team QMJHL, but promptly bounced fourth-seeded Rimouski in the first round.

With the world junior being played in Montreal for the first time, it likely was incumbent on Hockey Canada to have a QMJHL coach at the helm of the U20 men's team for the first time since Mario Durocher in 2004. By no means is that the primary objective; it's just an ancillary one. Groulx's withdrawal in '09 resulted in a rather long gap in choosing a coach from the league that has produced three of the past four Memorial Cup-winning teams. One would expect that success to trickle up to the national junior team in due time.

Canada's preparation for the WJC will include an exhibition tournament vs. Russia and Czech Republic in Quebec in early August.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Mourinho accused Conte of humiliating United - Italian TV

      Mourinho accused Conte of humiliating United - Italian TV

      (Reuters) - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho told his Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte that his antics in whipping up the crowd during the London club's 4-0 victory on Sunday were "humiliating", according to Italian television. The … More »

      Reuters - 7 minutes ago
    • Dual Manchester slump adds gravitas to EFL Cup derby

      Dual Manchester slump adds gravitas to EFL Cup derby

      Any suggestion that Wednesday's EFL Cup showdown between Manchester United and City would lack the usual derby intensity has been removed by the gathering pressure on both managers. While Jose Mourinho seeks a response to the humiliation inflicted … More »

      Reuters - 10 minutes ago
    • No panic for Atletico after first loss this season

      No panic for Atletico after first loss this season

      Atletico Madrid have been reminded of just how challenging this season's La Liga is going to be after falling to fifth place following their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 setback at Sevilla. "Sevilla and the other teams that are currently high … More »

      Reuters - 15 minutes ago
    • Nevilles slam Man U midfield 'mannequins', 'garbage defending'

      Nevilles slam Man U midfield 'mannequins', 'garbage defending'

      Former Manchester United full-backs Gary and Phil Neville have slammed the club's "garbage" defending after Sunday's crushing 4-0 defeat to Chelsea in the Premier League. United manager Jose Mourinho blamed "incredible defensive mistakes" for the … More »

      Reuters - 18 minutes ago
    • Prince Ali says FIFA needs to speed up reforms

      Prince Ali says FIFA needs to speed up reforms

      By Suleiman Al-Khalidi AMMAN (Reuters) - Former FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan is concerned about the pace of reform in world soccer's governing body and says new president Gianni Infantino has "no time to lose" in … More »

      Reuters - 22 minutes ago