It’s a role Kori Cheverie would prefer not to play in 2022, but someone has
to go first, so why not her?
“There’s always a little bit of pressure being the first to do something,”
Cheverie explains. “But there are people who have come before me who have
paved the path in other ways so I just kind of see myself as someone who is
helping out the future of women and female coaches.”
Last week, Hockey Canada announced Cheverie as an assistant coach with
Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team for the IIHF U18 World Championship,
the first woman to serve in a coaching role for a national men’s team. But
it isn’t the first time Cheverie has broken the gender-divide behind a
men’s hockey bench.
In 2016, the New Glasgow, N.S., native was hired as an assistant coach by
the Ryerson Rams, becoming the first woman to work full-time with n U
SPORTS men’s hockey team. She held that role for five years, until joining
Hockey Canada at the start of the 2021-22 season to work with Canada’s
National Women’s Team as it prepared for the Olympics.
“I think it can probably be a little bit of an intimidation factor being on
the men’s side, but the fact that I have that experience definitely
prepares me a little bit more for what to expect,” Cheverie says. “I just
see it as another coaching experience for myself and for these athletes.
“I’m sure not many of them have ever been coached by a female.”
In addition to U SPORTS and her time with the women’s team, Cheverie has
years of experience working with high-calibre athletes, specifically at the
under-18 level. She was an assistant coach at the 2019 IIHF U18 Women’s
World Championship, earning a gold medal. In the same year, she won another
gold as head coach of Team Ontario Red at the National Women’s Under-18
“We had our first meeting in-person, and she had great reads on all the
players,” says Nolan Baumgartner, who is making his own debut as a head
coach at the national level. “She’s going to be a huge asset for our team.”
Cheverie will be the eye-in-the-sky for Team Canada, pre-scouting opponents
and putting together a plan for each game. It’s a role she’s never had
before and is she relishing a new way to see the game. A perfect perch to
position herself for future prospects.
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities come my way and I think it’s because I
take the approach of just trying to learn and educate myself,” Cheverie
says of learning a new coaching role. “Anytime you get the opportunity to
work with new athletes and a new coaching staff … it’s always going to be
valuable no matter what level it is – under-13 or the NHL.”
At the U18 level, the world championship is a whirlwind event. This year,
with no opportunity for a selection camp because of the adjusted Canadian
Hockey League schedule, Team Canada will be coming together in Germany just
a few days before the first game. Cheverie is revelling in the added
pressure of a condensed timeline.
“I really love short-term events as I feel you’re forced to really pull out
your character and be the person to form those relationships really fast,”
the 34-year-old says. “It’s a really exciting time for these athletes as
they’re pushing the threshold of becoming a pro hockey player.”
But first, the players and staff will put their focus on bringing home a
gold medal for Canada.
“I got to play in the [IIHF World Junior Championship] and just pulling on
the jersey, there is so much pride,” Baumgartner recalls. “And it’s no
different being a coach, getting on that bench to lead a group of men to a
gold medal and you feel that same pride.
“It’s very exhilarating to know that you’ve got a whole country behind