Trent Cassan, head coach and general manager of the Yorkton Junior ‘A’ Terriers will have some added responsibilities in terms of coaching this fall.
The Canadian Junior Hockey League, in partnership with Hockey Canada, has announced Cassan will be the head coach of Canada West at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, scheduled for Dec. 14-20 in Kindersley, Sask.
“It’s pretty exciting. It’s a really good opportunity,” he told Yorkton This Week, adding it’s a definite honour to be selected through Hockey Canada to head a team at the international level.
Cassan, 31, will make his second appearance with Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge, having won a bronze medal as an assistant coach in 2013.
In 2012 he was a guest coach helping with the team selection process.
The step to the head coach position will be aided by Cassan’s recent experience, but is still a major role to take on.
“It is a big commitment,” he said.
At the same time Cassan said he does have an understanding of what he is in for.
“I’ve had some experience as assistant coach, but it is a high profile event,” he said.
Cassan will be joined by assistant coaches Tim Fragle (head coach and general manager, Sherwood Park Crusaders, Alberta Junior Hockey League), Luke Pierce (head coach and general manager, Merritt Centennials, British Columbia Hockey League) and Jason Williamson (head coach and general manager, Vernon Vipers, British Columbia Hockey League).
Cassan said it is important to have coaches connected to leagues across the west which the team will draw from because it is simply impossible for one coach to travel to see every prospective player who might deserve an invitation to an evaluation camp.
The date of the evaluation camp is not yet set, said Cassan, adding it is one of the things he and his assistants will finalize once they get through formalizing their respective Junior clubs which are all into their fall camps.
The team while Junior cannot have any 20-year-olds and only five 19-year-olds on the roster.
Cassan has been head coach and general manager in Yorkton for the past five seasons, leading the team to the SJHL championship and RBC Cup national championship last season. A Terriers alumnus (2002-04), Cassan was named SJHL Coach of the Year in 2012-13.
Canada West has appeared in six of the eight gold medal games at the World Junior A Challenge, winning gold in 2006 (Yorkton/Humboldt, Sask.), 2007 (Trail/Nelson, B.C.), and 2012 (Langley, B.C.). It also won silver in 2008 (Camrose, Alta.), 2009 (Summerside, P.E.I.), and 2012 (Yarmouth, N.S.), and won bronze in 2013 (Yarmouth, N.S.). It finished fourth in 2010 (Penticton, B.C.).