York coach picked to lead Team Canada’s U-22 women’s hockey team

York Lions women’s hockey coach Dan Church has been named head coach of Canada’s national women’s under-22 team for 2007-2008.

Dan ChurchThe fourth-year York coach was promoted to the top spot on the highly regarded Canadian team after serving as an assistant last year. Church will finalize his roster at Canlan Ice Sports on York’s Keele campus, site of a selection camp from Aug. 10 to 19.

Right: Dan Church behind the bench at a York Lions game

“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” Church said. “One thing that helps, too, is this raises the profile of our own program at York and shows how committed we are to high-performance sports.”

Church will make his debut as a head coach in international play during a three-game exhibition series against the United States, Aug. 23-26, in Lake Placid, NY. The Canadian team will reconvene in January 2008 for the Air Canada Cup in Germany.

Last year, as an assistant, Church won a gold medal with the Canadian team at the Air Canada Cup. The under-22 team has been a dominant force since forming in 1998, winning all six of its international tournaments.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to work with the best players in the country (in the under-22 age group),” Church said.

Church will work with assistant coaches Sarah Howald (University of Regina) and Stephanie White (Mississauga Aeros, NWHL) this season. Howald was a video coach with the under-22 team last season, while White was an assistant coach with the gold-medal winning national team at the world championship in Winnipeg.

“These three coaches bring a wealth of coaching experience and have shown a strong commitment in past years to the national women’s program,” said Melody Davidson, general manager of national women’s teams with Hockey Canada. “With Dan, Sarah and Stephanie behind the bench, we are confident the development of our under-22 players as people and hockey players will continue.”

Submitted by Mike Koreen, sport & recreation information officer in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health.