CALGARY - Guy Carbonneau is heading back behind the bench.
The former coach of the Montreal Canadiens will lead Canada's entry at the world under-18 championship next month in Belarus. It will be his first ever opportunity to coach junior-aged players.
"I don't see it as a job, I see it as a challenge and a new experience," Carbonneau told The Canadian Press in an interview Tuesday. "I was kind of surprised when (QMJHL commissioner) Gilles Courteau talked to me about a month and a half ago about my interest. ... It was a pretty easy decision for me.
"My coaching career has been short, but a lot of fun. I think coaching young kids in a world championship like that is going to be a good experience."
Carbonneau has been working as an analyst on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" since being let go by the Habs last season. He previously served as an assistant coach for Canada at the 2001 IIHF World Hockey Championship.
His assistants at the upcoming world under-18 championship each bring plenty of junior experience - George Burnett of the OHL's Belleville Bulls and Rob Sumner of the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds.
Carbonneau also plans to get some pointers from Richard Martel, the head coach of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens QMJHL team he partly owns.
"I know in the next couple weeks I'll make a lot of phone calls to my coach and see what works and what doesn't work, what to look for, things like that," said Carbonneau.
The 49-year-old is the fourth coach in five years to lead the under-18 team after having previously been an NHL head coach, joining Greg Gilbert (2006), Trent Yawney (2007) and Pat Quinn (2008).
Mike Johnston of the WHL's Portland Winter Hawks led the team to a fourth-place finish last year.
Canada opens this year's tournament with a game against Switzerland on April 13 in Bobruisk, Belarus. Carbonneau knows the expectation of the team will be to win gold and relishes that challenge.
"I understand what I am getting myself into," he said. "I had the same expectations when I was a player and obviously I had the same expectations when I was a coach here in Montreal. I don't coach to lose, I don't play to lose.
"I think I'm just glad to be part of the process. I'm seeing this as an experience."