2023 24 national womens program staff announcement

Coaching staffs named for national women's teams

Troy Ryan, Kori Cheverie and Tara Watchorn to lead national teams during 2023-24 season

NR.047.23
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July 7, 2023
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CALGARY, Alta. Hockey Canada has unveiled the coaching staffs for Canada’s National Women’s Team, Canada’s National Women’s Development Team and Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team for the 2023-24 season, with seven alumnae among those behind the bench.

Troy Ryan (Spryfield, NS) returns for his fourth year behind the bench as head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Team, joined by assistant coaches Kori Cheverie (New Glasgow, NS), Caroline Ouellette (Montreal, QC/Concordia University, RSEQ) and Courtney Birchard-Kessel (Mississauga, ON/Boston University, HE), as well as goaltending consultant Brad Kirkwood (Calgary, AB) and video coach Andrew Boucher (Timmins, ON).

“We’re excited about the coaching staff, including a number of alumnae, we have assembled for our women’s programs for the upcoming season,” said Gina Kingsbury (Rouyn-Noranda, QC), vice-president of hockey operations. “We are grateful for the commitment many of our coaches make to return year after year to lead and develop our athletes, and look forward to the leadership and expertise they will bring in leading our teams on the international stage.”

Ryan recently became the first coach to serve on the coaching staff for both Canada’s National Men’s Team and Canada’s National Women’s Team, winning a gold medal as an assistant at the 2023 IIHF World Championship and silver as head coach at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship. Ryan is going into his fifth season as head coach of the National Women’s Team after serving as an assistant coach for nearly four seasons (2016-19). Ryan coached Team Canada to back-to-back gold medals at the IIHF Women’s World Championship (2021, 2022), in addition to a gold medal at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. He also earned a silver medal at the 2018 Olympics, silver Women’s Worlds in 2017 and bronze in 2019.

Cheverie won a silver medal as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Women’s Team at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship. She also added gold medals as an assistant at Women’s Worlds in 2021 and 2022, and at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Cheverie became the first woman to serve on the coaching staff with one of Canada’s national men’s teams at the 2022 IIHF U18 World Championship. Nationally, she won a silver medal as head coach of Team Nova Scotia at the 2023 Canada Winter Games, the province’s first-ever medal in women’s hockey. She was also the first woman hired as a full-time assistant coach in U SPORTS with the Ryerson University men’s hockey team for five seasons (2016-21).

Ouellette was recently announced as an honoured member of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. In May, she was also inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Hall of Fame. She is entering her third season as the associate head coach at Concordia University. Internationally, she won a silver medal as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Women’s Team at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship, along with gold in 2022 and bronze in 2019. As a player, she won four Olympic gold medals and six world championships during an illustrious 17-year international career.

Birchard-Kessel is entering her first year as an assistant coach at Boston University. Prior to joining BU, she spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Princeton University women’s hockey team (2019-23). She won a gold medal as head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team at the 2023 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, and gold as an assistant at U18 Women’s Worlds in 2019, and has been an assistant with Canada’s National Women’s Development Team on two occasions (2017, 2019).

Canada’s National Women’s Team will head to southern Ontario for its Fall Festival training camp from Sept. 10-17, in preparation for the 2023-24 season, which includes the Rivalry Series, with dates and locations to be announced in the future. The season will conclude with the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship, tentatively scheduled for April 2024 in Utica, New York.

For a full list of staff for Canada’s National Women’s Team and a list of camp support staff, please click here.

Cheverie returns as head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Development Team, alongside assistant coaches Rachel Flanagan (Pontypool, ON/University of Guelph, OUA) , Noémie Marin (Acton Vale, QC/John Abbott College, CEGEP) and Cassandra Turner (Campbellford, ON/Quinnipiac University, ECAC), as well as goaltending coach Sheldon Goertzen (Saskatoon, SK/University of Saskatchewan, CW) and Boucher as video coach.

Flanagan recently completed her 16th season as head coach of the University of Guelph women’s hockey team. During her tenure, Flanagan has led the Gryphons to a U SPORTS national title in 2019, in addition to three Ontario University Athletics (OUA) titles, and she has been named the OUA Coach of the Year on five occasions. She served as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Women’s Team during the Rivalry Series in December 2022, has served as an assistant with Canada’s National Women’s Development Team three times (2011, 2012, 2022) and was recognized as a BFL Female Coach of the Year in 2020-21.

Marin is entering her ninth season as the women’s hockey head coach at John Abbott College. She was previously the head coach of Kuper Academy (2012-14). Marin led the development team as head coach during the 2016-17 season and was an assistant with Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team at the 2015 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship. On the national stage, she was an assistant with Quebec at the 2015 National Women’s Under-18 Championship and led Quebec to silver as head coach at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Turner is entering her ninth season as head coach of Quinnipiac’s women’s hockey team, having led the Bobcats to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons. In 2015-16, her first season as head coach, she led the team to 30 wins, an NCAA record for wins by a first-year women’s hockey head coach. Turner captured a silver medal as head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team at the 2015 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, and won gold as an assistant in 2014.

Following her role as an assistant coach during the 2022-23 season, Tara Watchorn (Newcastle, ON/Boston University, HE) takes the reins as head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team. She will be joined by assistant coaches Stefanie McKeough (Carlsbad Springs, ON/University of Ottawa, OUA) and Vicky Sunohara (Scarborough, ON/University of Toronto, OUA) , as well as goaltending coach Gord Woodhall (Winnipeg, MB/Winnipeg, MFHL) and video coach Stef Thomson (Oshawa, ON)

Watchorn was named head coach of Boston University in April, becoming the first alumna of the women’s program to serve as its head coach. She served as the first head coach of Stonehill College’s women’s hockey team (2021-23), earning NEWHA Coach of the Year honours in the program’s inaugural season. Prior to joining Stonehill, Watchorn served as an assistant coach with BU for four seasons (2017-20). A 2014 Olympic gold medallist as a player, she won back-to-back gold medals as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team at the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship in 2022 and 2023.

McKeough recently completed her third season as an assistant coach with the University of Ottawa women’s hockey team. Prior to joining the Gee-Gees, she served as head coach of Göteborg HC of the Svenka Damhockeyligen (SDHL) in Sweden during the 2020 season following two years as an assistant. As a player, McKeough won a silver medal with Canada at the 2009 IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship.

Sunohara is entering her 13th season as head coach of the University of Toronto women’s hockey team, winning both OUA and U SPORTS Coach of the Year honours in three consecutive seasons (2020-23) and leading the Blues to the OUA championship last spring. She won a gold medal as an assistant coach at the 2022 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship. Internationally, Sunohara won two Olympic gold medals in addition to seven world championship golds, and ranks 10th in all-time Team Canada scoring with 119 points (56-63—119) in 164 career games.

Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team will gather in St. Catharines, Ont., for selection camp from Aug. 9-13 in advance of a three-game series against the United States, Aug. 14-20 in Lake Placid, New York. It will chase a third-consecutive gold medal at the 2024 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship in Switzerland, Jan. 6-14.

For a full list of staff for Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team and a list of camp support staff, please click here.

For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Women’s Program, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram .

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

emadziya@hockeycanada.ca 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

ssharkey@hockeycanada.ca

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

jknight@hockeycanada.ca

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