Kootenay Ice head coach Luke Pierce was named an assistant coach at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge by Hockey Canada this week.
Twelve coaches were selected on Thursday to lead Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team and Canada’s national men’s under-17 teams throughout development and selection camps, and 2017 events.
Pierce will work with head coach Gilles Bouchard, of the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, and fellow assistant B.J. Adams, of the OHL’s Erie Otters, in leading Team Canada Red at the tournament in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C in November.
The U17 Challenge is Canada’s premiere showcase of the best 16-year-old players and features three Canadian teams as well as Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.
Since the first event was held in 1986, more than 1,600 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, and Auston Matthews.
“We are thrilled with the caliber of coaches that have been selected to lead our National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team and Under-17 teams,” said Scott Salmond, vice-president of hockey operations and national teams with Hockey Canada, in a press release. “These coaches have experience across many different levels of the game that will help develop young talent across our country, and we’re looking forward to their leadership as we move into the 2017-18 season.”
Pierce, 33, will be entering his third season as a WHL coach in 2017-18. He previously served as the General Manager and coach of the BCHL’s Meritt Centennials from 2010 to 2015. In 2014, he was an assistant coach for Hockey Canada with the U19 West team.
“This is a great opportunity for [Pierce] and the experience gained at this event will help the Kootenay Ice hockey club,” said Ice President and General Manager, Matt Cockell, in a team release. “[Pierce] is a strong communicator and respected for his ability to develop and teach young athletes, I know he is looking forward to the opportunity.”
The tournament will be held from November 5 to 11, 2017, and Pierce will also participate in the camps leading up to the event over the summer.