Lions hockey head coach Russ Herrington to lead Team Canada’s para hockey program

York University Lions Men’s Hockey Head Coach Russ Herrington was named the next head coach of Canada’s National Para Hockey Team.

Russ Harrington
Russ Harrington

The announcement marks a promotion for Herrington, who acted as an assistant coach for Team Canada’s sledge program since 2017. Among the highlights of Herrington’s tenure as assistant came earlier this year when he helped guide the squad to a silver medal at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. He also steered the team to three consecutive medals at the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) World Para Ice Hockey Championships (gold: 2017; silver: 2019, 2021). 

“I have been lucky enough the past several seasons to have the privilege of representing two places very near and dear to my heart, York University and Canada,” said Herrington. “It is not lost on me that I have been afforded these opportunities because of the great people I have worked with – first and foremost, here at York. I am very appreciative of the support provided by both the York community, and most importantly, my wife Janice and my family as I live out a lifelong dream of representing my country on the international stage. I look forward to the challenge this role poses. I believe this experience will also make me a better coach for the Lions.”

The Toronto native will remain the Lions bench boss, a role he has occupied since 2017 after two years as an assistant on the staff of Chris Dennis. That two-year stint included a Queen’s Cup in 2016-17, where Herrington’s guidance helped York triumph over the Queen’s Gaels in the conference championship game, propelling the program to the U SPORTS national championship. 

In Herrington’s first year serving as bench boss in 2017-18, the team made it to the OUA Bronze Medal game where they fell in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Concordia. 

Then, most recently, the Lions pulled off an upset for the ages. In Herrington’s first game back behind the bench after being away from the team while in Beijing, his team was matched up in a single-game elimination in Round 1 of the 2022 OUA playoffs against a top-ranked Windsor Lancers team. The visiting Lions jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Windsor rallied to tie. Early in the final period Benjamin Evanish potted the winning goal as the Lions defeated Windsor 4-2 and moved onto the OUA semi-final.

The 2022-23 iteration of the Lions begins its regular season on Friday, Oct. 14, at Canlan Sports York against the newly named TMU Bold.