Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dallas Stars Executive Nill Named GM for Canada's World Championship Team

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dallas Stars Executive Nill Named GM for Canada's World Championship Team

Article excerpt

Jim Nill named Canada's GM for worlds


ERIE, Pa. - The world hockey championships have changed since Jim Nill helped Canada win back-to-back medals, but Hockey Canada believes he still has what it takes to bring another title home.

Hockey Canada named the Dallas Stars general manager as head of its management team for the 2015 tournament in Prague, overseeing a group that's made up of former Washington Capitals GM George McPhee, former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Claude Loiselle, Arizona Coyotes goaltending coach Sean Burke, Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM Pat Verbeek and Hockey Canada's Scott Salmond.

Nill won gold at the world championships as director of player personnel in 2003 and GM in 2004, and while the tournament has changed a bit since then, it doesn't hurt Canada to have someone who knows how the process works.

"It's like the Olympics, you need to live it once to understand it sometimes," Nill said in a phone interview Wednesday. "It's a short tournament and an intense tournament. I think that's where the experience really helps."

Nill, a native of Hanna, Alta., and members of his staff have been in contact almost daily as they've begun to consider what the roster will look like when Canada opens against Latvia on May 1. Tight playoff races in the NHL make it uncertain what players will even be available, and then there's the possibility of adding those who get eliminated in the first round.

In a perfect world, Nill said, management will have much of its team put together sooner rather than waiting until the last minute.

"You'd like to have the majority of the team picked before you head over to play the exhibition games," Nill said. "The quicker you come together as a team, the better your chance of success."

The world championships have become for Canada more of a showcase of young players than in the past, and this year will be no different. Natural targets are players 26 years of age and younger, of which there's no shortage of top-end talent.

"We're seeing kind of a turning of the page of the new generation of Canadian players," Nill said. "I think we're going to kind of see that as we put the team together. I think it's kind of a new generation of players that are taking the next step. …

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