Hockey Canada announced Wednesday that York University Lions women’s hockey team coach Dan Church will serve as head coach of Canada’s national women’s team at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. It was also announced that Danielle Goyette would serve as assistant coach.
“This is a tremendous honour to be selected as the national team coach for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games,” said Church. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and excited to represent Canada on the Olympic stage. I am thrilled to take on the challenge of continuing to bring Olympic success to Canada.”
As well as being named head coach of the women’s national team for the 2014 Olympics, Church was also named Canada’s head coach for the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Hockey Championship in Ottawa.
Church and Goyette return to their positions after helping Canada win the gold medal at the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship in Burlington, Vermont, defeating the United States 5 to 4 this past April. It was the first time Canada claimed the gold at the world championship since 2007.
Prior to the world championship, they led Canada to the silver medal at the 2011 Four Nations Cup in Nyköping, Sweden last November, and finished third at the 2011 IIHF Twelve Nations Invitational Tournament held last summer in Vierumäki, Finland.
Church has also won a silver medal as an assistant coach with Canada’s national women’s team at the 2011 IIHF world women’s championship, a gold medal as head coach of Canada’s national women’s under-22 team at the 2008 Air Canada Cup and a gold medal as head coach of Canada’s national women’s under-18 team at the 2010 IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship. He also won a gold medal as Canada’s head coach at the 2009 International University Sports Federation (FISU) Games in Harbin, China, the first to include women’s hockey.
Church recently completed his eighth season as the head coach of the Lions women’s hockey team, which was its best season in more than a decade. The Lions finished fifth in the Ontario University Athletic (OUA) standings before knocking off the defending OUA champion Queen’s University Gaels in the first round of the playoffs. The Lions came within a game of the OUA championship final, falling to the Western University Mustangs in game 3 of their semifinal series.
“I am also grateful for Jennifer Myers, director of Sport & Recreation at York University, who has provided me with the support necessary to achieve this opportunity,” said Church. “The rest of the administration, staff, coaches and athletes at York University should also be commended for their support over the past few years.”
Before coming to York, Church spent eight years as an assistant coach with the University of Toronto. He has served as president of the Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) Women’s Hockey Coaches Association since 2007 and won a Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (now CIS) national championship in 2001 as an assistant coach with the University of Toronto women’s team, under former National Women’s Team head coach Karen Hughes.
Women’s ice hockey was introduced to the Winter Olympic Games in 1998, when the event was held in Nagano, Japan. Canada claimed the silver in its opening year, losing to the United States. Since then, Canada’s national women’s team has won three straight Olympic gold medals (2002, 2006 & 2010), including a victory in 2010 on home soil when Vancouver hosted the Olympics.