There will be a familiar face on Team Canada’s coaching staff at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Halifax and Moncton.
Prince Albert product and Raiders goaltending coach Kelly Guard will serve as goaltending consultant for Team Canada becoming the third coach from the WHL joining Lethbridge Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio and Everett Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams on the coaching staff.
Guard has coached with Hockey Canada at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and was the goaltending coach for Canada White at the 2021 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.
“It’s the pinnacle of the program of excellence within Hockey Canada,” Guard says. “It’s what you want to work towards when you start at U17. It’s been just over a year and I’ve been able to work my way up. Learning how to coach differently over there and it’s been good.”
Guard was hired by the Raiders as the goaltending coach prior to the 2012-2013 season. He says the experience he has had learning under coaches in Prince Albert were key to him getting his role
“I think it’s huge. Coaching in the CHL, you learn from the best coaches. I’ve been lucky throughout my years in PA to have some really good coaches to lean on like Marc Habscheid, Dave Manson and Jeff Truitt who coaches here now. Showing you the ins and outs of what is expected at this level”
As a player, Guard saw success in net with the Kelowna Rockets posting 83 career regular season victories across two seasons from 2002-2003 and 2003-2004. But Guard never got to represent Canada on the World Junior stage as a player.
He says the feeling of going as a coach matches what he would have experienced as a player.
“It’s kind of a thrill. I never got an opportunity as a player to don the maple leaf but as a coach it’s the same feeling. You’re not only representing your country but the Raiders and the city of PA. It’s a proud honour and I’ll take that in mind when I go down there.
The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship runs from Dec 26, 2022 through Jan 5. 2023