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The brains behind the World Juniors

The IIHF World Junior Championship is returning to Montreal and Toronto this December, and these 16 men will help make it happen

David Brien & Wendy Graves
May 3, 2016

The puck won’t drop on the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship for another eight months, but the first two teams are already in place – the host organizing committees in Montreal and Toronto.

“It’s critical for an organizing committee like the World Junior Championship to be able to count on experienced, knowledgeable, passionate people to act as volunteers and lead another group of volunteers,” says Denis Hainault, executive director of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. “These people coming together bring diversity of talent and experience. They’re passionate and their love of the game will make the World Juniors a success.”

The host organizing committees includes those who’ve been involved with hockey at every level, people who’ve led major projects in multisport games and individuals with more than four decades of volunteer experience.

Here’s who they are and the role each of their committees will play behind the scenes.

Hospitality & Protocol – Montreal

By day: Retired
Prior: Chair, Hockey Canada Board of Directors; president, Hockey Quebec; Hospitality and Protocol co-chair, 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

Hospitality & Protocol – Montreal

By day: Assistant manager of sport and leisure with BFL Canada
Prior: Manager of Hockey Canada Regional Centre – Quebec; Volunteers chair, 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

Game Presentation & Hospitality – Toronto

By day: Governor, London Knights (OHL); sports entertainment lawyer
Prior: Chair, host committee for 2005 and 2014 Memorial Cups in London

Game presentation is about everyone having a great experience from the time they arrive at the arena to the time they leave. That includes the smooth running of all ceremonies (including pre-game introductions and Player of the Game awards), the 50/50 program (in Toronto) and in-game activations (things like on-ice intermission contests). The hospitality side includes overseeing the VIP program, and managing the Team Canada Family program, taking care of those who played an integral role in getting their sons, grandsons and brothers to the point of playing for Canada’s National Junior Team.


Hockey Development – Montreal

By day: Director of player development, Hockey Québec
Prior: Hockey Development chair, 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

Hockey Development – Toronto

By day: Director of hockey development, Ontario Minor Hockey Association; Hockey Canada Athlete Development Committee member; Hockey Canada National Coach Mentorship Program Advisory Committee member

Part of the World Juniors is to create a legacy beyond the games played between the competing teams. And that’s where Ménard and Taylor come in. They, along with instructors from Hockey Canada’s Regional Centres and the local minor hockey communities, will lead skills sessions and other development opportunities for players, coaches and officials at the grassroots level. The hope is to reach more than just Montreal and Toronto, with the ultimate goal of icing activities both during the build-up to the World Juniors and beyond.


Hockey Operations – Toronto

By day: Director of ticket sales and services, Oshawa Generals
Prior: Team Services lead, 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

Team & Official Services – Montreal

By day: Director of officiating, QMJHL
Prior: Referee, National Hockey League; Team Hosts lead, 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

This group includes the behind-the-scenes activity of three key areas in both host cities. One, team services, the group charged with taking care of teams, whether it’s shuttling equipment from venue to venue, stocking day-to-day supplies or running laundry services. Next, team hosts, are organizing chaperones who can communicate with teams in their native language and help them around the city. Lastly, the anti-doping and medical group, which includes doctors, dentists, orthopedic surgeons, massage therapists, physiotherapists and athletic therapists to augment the skeleton staff that typically travels with each team.


Logistics – Montreal

By day: Sales representative, Duchesne et Fils ltée; chair of Provincial Leagues Officiating Committee, Hockey Québec
Prior: Transportation co-chair, 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

Logistics – Montreal

By day: Lawyer, Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melançon Inc.; referee-in-chief, Hockey Quebec
Prior: Legal counsel, Hockey Quebec; Transportation co-chair, 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

Logistics – Toronto

By day: Chief executive officer, Rugby Canada
Prior: Executive vice-president of operations, sport and venue management, 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games; vice-president of workforce operations and integrations, VANOC

Logistics is all-encompassing, both in terms of the degree to which it covers the event and the other committees with which it connects. First, logistics covers venue operations, meaning anything and everything – from the tables and chairs in the media workroom to the signage around the facility – coming in or out of the Bell Centre and Air Canada Centre. It also covers anything and everything that arrives for the event, whether it’s pucks, exercise equipment or sponsored merchandise. Logistics also means transportation – for teams, officials and IIHF personnel, among others – IT – hard wires, power cords, Wi-Fi frequencies, etc. – and accreditation.


Marketing & Communications – Montreal

By day: Exhibit sales consultant, Expo Media
Prior: Senior manager of corporate partnerships, Montreal Alouettes (CFL); account executive, Montreal Canadiens (NHL)

Media – Toronto

By day: Owner of Craig Downey Consulting, a communications and media relations firm
Prior: Manager of media relations, Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

Cigos and Downey will transform chaos into controlled chaos to ensure the smooth operation of the mixed zone – i.e., two dozen reporters with 24 microphones pointed at one player – the media workroom – where journalists from around the world file their stories – and the press box. Responsibilities also include social media – with volunteers providing live updates through @HC_WJC and @HC_CMJ – and photography – with clicks taken from ice level, up high and places in between – as well as event publications, which will tell the story of the 2017 World Juniors both before and during the event.


Venue – Montreal

By day: Production manager, evenko
Prior: Event manager, 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

Venue – Montreal

By day: General manager, Excellence sportive de l’île de Montréal
Prior: Mission staff, Canadian Olympic Committee; Logistics chair, 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

The eyes of the hockey world will be on the Bell Centre over the holidays, particularly when the medal round comes to Montreal in the first week of January. Venue operations in Montreal consist of setting up and tearing down the facility before and after the World Juniors, handling security staff, merchandising and warehousing, as well as overseeing the 50/50 program and signage in and around the Montreal Canadiens’ facility.


Volunteers – Toronto

By day: Member, Hockey Canada Insurance Committee
Prior: Part of Canadian delegation at 2006 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games; Volunteers chair, 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

Volunteers – Montreal

By day: Director of governance, Hockey Québec
Prior: Volunteer Training lead, 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

Hundreds upon hundreds of volunteers – be they 50/50 sellers, off-ice officials or media operations personnel – will be needed, and the host committee will ensure everything is set up and runs smoothly for them. This includes getting everyone registered properly and outfitted in official gear, sending out shift-reminder emails, providing snacks and meals, and organizing the post-event volunteer appreciation party. They’ll do their best to ensure the volunteers have the best experience possible; in 2015, that included getting warmer jackets for those working outside or near venue doors and finding a sponsor to provide free public transportation for all volunteers.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 


Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567


Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738


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