By Earl Zukerman
Published May 20, 2015, McGill Athletics
CALGARY, Alta. -- Hockey Canada announced Wednesday that Jamie Kompon (BEd (PE) 1989), a McGill University graduate from Thunder Bay, Ont., is among three head coaches named to lead the three Canadian teams at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in August.
Kompon, 48, who just completed his first season as head coach of the WHL's Portland Winterhawks after 17 years as an assistant in the NHL, will head the Canada White squad, while Kris Knoblauch of the OHL's Erie Otters will guide the Canada Red unit and Marco Pietroniro of the QMJHL's Baie-Comeau Drakkar will lead Canada Black.
In 2013, Kompon became the first NHL coach in 78 years to win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with different teams, succeeding as an assistant with Chicago that year after winning the coveted mug as an assistant with Los Angeles the previous season. He was the first coach to accomplish that feat since Tommy Gorman guided the Montreal Maroons to a Cup conquest in 1935 after leading Chicago to victory in 1934.
Kompon is one of 14 former McGill hockey players to get his name engraved on the Cup and only the third to do so as a coach. The other bench bosses were Mike Babcock (BEd (PE) 1986) with Detroit in 2008, and Lester Patrick, who achieved that status twice with the New York Rangers – in 1928 and again in 1933.
Kompon began his lengthy coaching career in 1991 at McGill, serving three years as an assistant coach before sharing the head coaching duties with Martin Raymond (BEd 1990, MEd 1996) in 1994-95 after the mid-season departure of coach Jean Pronovost to the junior ranks. Kompon's first pro coaching stint was in 1996-97 as an assistant with the Baltimore Bandits of the American Hockey League.
During his playing days, he patrolled the McGill blueline for four seasons (1985 to 1989), captaining the Redmen in his senior year before graduating with a physical education degree in 1989. He then played two seasons of pro hockey, with stints in Cincinnati, Hampton Roads and Winston-Salem of the East Coast Hockey League and with Selb of the German Elite League.
Kompon is the second McGill hockey grad currently serving in the dual role as coach and GM of a team, joining former McGill teammate and George Burnett (BEd 1985) who is now with the OHL's Hamilton Bulldogs. Kompon is also one of six former McGill hockey players to coach in the NHL, joining Lester Patrick (head coach, N.Y. Rangers, 1926-28), George Burnett (head coach in Edmonton, 1994-95; assistant in Anaheim, 1999-01), Guy Boucher (head coach, Tampa, 2011-13), Martin Raymond (assistant coach, Tampa, 2011-13) and Mike Babcock (head coach in Anaheim, 2002-05, Detroit, 2005-15 and Toronto, 2015-present).
Kompon also served as video coach with Canada at the 2006 IIHF World Championship.
Some 108 players are expected to attend the Team Canada training camp at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary, July 29 to Aug. 4, of which 66 will be selected to represent Canada at the tournament. Camp invitees will be announced in the coming weeks, as will a host city and schedule information for the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Gilles Bouchard (Normandin, Que./Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL) and Drew Bannister (Sudbury, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL) will serve as assistant coaches for Canada White, Jamie Heward (Regina, Sask./Swift Current, WHL) and Serge Lajoie (St. Albert, Alta./NAIT, ACAC) will join Knoblauch on Canada Red, while Trevor Letowski (Thunder Bay, Ont.) and Ryan Oulahan (Newmarket, Ont./North Bay, OHL) will be behind the bench for Canada Black.
The 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will mark the second year the tournament will feature three national teams (Black, Red and White). From 1986 to 2014, Canada was represented by five regional teams: Atlantic, Ontario, Pacific, Quebec and West.
Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada's director of player personnel, will lead player selection for the camp, along with regional scouts Carl Bouchard (Quebec), Wade Klippenstein (West), Kevin Mitchell (Atlantic), Darryl Woodley (Ontario) and Barclay Branch (Ontario).
The 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will bring together the top players in the world born in 1999 or later. The under-17 program is the first step in Hockey Canadas Program of Excellence. Many players who compete at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge go on to represent Canada with the National Mens Under-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Mens Team.
Since the first under-17 tournament (then known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, more than 1,200 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including 11 of the last 14 first-overall selections (Ilya Kovalchuk, 2001; Rick Nash, 2002; Marc-André Fleury, 2003; Alexander Ovechkin, 2004; Erik Johnson, 2006; Patrick Kane, 2007; John Tavares, 2009; Taylor Hall, 2010; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011; Nathan MacKinnon, 2013; Aaron Ekblad, 2014).
For more information on the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visitwww.hockeycanada.ca/wu17, or follow along via social media at www.facebook.com/worldu17 orwww.twitter.com/hc_wu17.