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Team Europe adds Jets' Maurice, names five scouts

by Adam Kimelman and David Satriano

Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice was named an assistant coach for Team Europe for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the NHL and NHL Players' Association announced Thursday.

In addition, former NHL players Peter Bondra, Sean Burke, Lorne Henning and Vaclav Nedomansky, and executive Ricky Olczyk, were named as scouts.

Krueger's relationship with Maurice dates to 2008, when Maurice coached the Carolina Hurricanes and Krueger, who was coach of Switzerland's national team, was helping with European player recruitment. Krueger also helped Maurice make the decision to coach Magnitogorsk in the Kontinental Hockey League in 2012-13.

"Anybody we bring in, we want to make sure we're adding value and bringing strengths to the team," Krueger said. "Paul just brings it all. … We're so honored to have him join us with that experience and that knowledge of the National Hockey League, of the players we have on our roster. But also the players we'll play against. For me not being an active NHL head coach at the moment, that person really needed to fill that updated knowledge base. And who he is as a person. He's a positive, high-energy, inspirational kind of addition to the team. He's a perfect fit."

Maurice has coached in over 1,200 NHL games for the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Jets. He reached the 2002 Stanley Cup Final with the Hurricanes and on Jan. 13 he became the second-youngest NHL coach to 500 wins.

"Very excited to work with Ralph," Maurice said Thursday prior to coaching the Jets against the Dallas Stars. "He's a real interesting guy. He's been around hockey for an awfully long time but done a tremendous amount of work in leadership and building organizations and motivating them, so it'll be a great opportunity, a bunch of players I've never worked with before and a great challenge."

Krueger said the way Maurice has proven his ability to build relationships with his players was another factor. Team Europe's roster will consist of players from as many as a half-dozen different countries.

"There's no question there's the understanding of the complexity of our team and what it's going to take to bring these guys together to work as a unit," Krueger said. "To really function as a leader in this environment you need to have a feeling for what the Europeans are like and how they tick and how they operate, and he does because he was in the trenches there. That'll definitely make him more comfortable at a quicker pace."

Maurice expects his time spent coaching in Russia to come in handy.

"I think it has helped in understanding the difference in the styles of game and the culture in the game and how it's perceived, how it's played," he said. "It is markedly different than what we see over here not only in systems of the game but the attitude of the game. So I have a far better feeling for the players that come over, the adjustments that they need to make to be successful in the NHL."

Team Europe president Franz Reindl, general manager Miroslav Satan and Krueger selected the five scouts to help build a roster for the upcoming tournament which can include players from all European nations except the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden.

"I'm honored," Reindl said after announcing his scouting staff. "I am more than pleased to work together in such great company. We live hockey; we love hockey especially. That's why we are here. It's not work. It's just great."

Satan, who was named general manager of Team Europe on Sept. 9, personally reached out to each of those he chose as scouts because of their international experiences. Bondra, Burke and Nedomansky each played for their respective countries in the Olympics and World Championships.

Satan and Reindl each played in the Olympics as well; Satan with Slovakia and Reindl with Germany.

"I think everybody, even Franz, played in the Olympics," Satan said. "So I think it's to our advantage. And we know how the international tournament works and what to expect. Nobody's learning anything and I think that's a big plus for that."

Bondra, who was born in the Ukraine, played in two Olympics for Slovakia (1998, 2006) and was general manager of its national team from 2007-11. He had 503 goals and 892 points in 16 NHL seasons spent mostly with the Washington Capitals. He scored the game-winning goal against Russia in the gold-medal game at the 2002 World Championship and won a bronze medal at the 2003 Worlds.

"I'm excited to be here," Bondra said. "I'm eager to learn from Franz, from the other experienced guys on our staff. Just to be a part of this and see what type of visions that they have and share my vision about the players. Basically I just want to learn from these guys. But I will share my opinion as much as I can."

Burke, who was goaltending coach and assistant to the general manager for the Arizona Coyotes the past three seasons, played for Canada in the Olympics in 1988 and 1992, when he won a silver medal. He won gold medals at the World Championship in 1997 and 2003.

"Miro gave me a call and we discussed [being a scout] a little bit," Burke said. "I was excited. Obviously any time you are part of a tournament that features the best players in the world, the best management groups, you're going to be excited to work with different people than I have worked with before. You learn a lot, you have an opportunity to grow, and having participated in Olympics, Canada Cup and those things.

"I understand the incredible excitement and honor that goes along with being part of those groups. It's a little different; a lot of my association has been with Team Canada and so I look at this as incredibly exciting to step out of that and work with a different group and some very respected people."

Henning was an assistant coach for 15 seasons in the NHL and was a scout for the Vancouver Canucks. He played in 543 NHL games and won the Stanley Cup four times with the New York Islanders, twice as a player (1980-81) and twice as an assistant coach (1982-83).

Nedomansky has coached in Germany and Austria and played more than 400 games in the NHL; Olczyk is the assistant general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, played college hockey at Brown and was captain of the United States Under-17 National Team in 1986.

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will take place at Air Canada Center in Toronto from Sept. 17-Oct. 1.

Team Europe will play in Group A along with Team Canada, Team Czech Republic and Team USA. Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden and Team North America will be in Group B.

All games will be televised by ESPN in the United States and Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

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