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McLellan to coach Team North America at World Cup

by Staff / Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McLellan was named coach of Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on Friday.

Team North America will consist of players from Canada and the United States who are age 23 or younger as of Oct. 1, 2016.

The World Cup of Hockey will be played Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016, with all games at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Team North America will be in Group B, along with Team Finland, Team Russia and Team Sweden. Group A consists of Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team USA and Team Europe, which features players from those European countries not fielding their own teams. All games will be televised by ESPN in the United States and Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

Picking McLellan to coach Team North America makes sense; the 2015-16 Oilers have an average age of 26.8, third-youngest in the League according to

Among the players he could be working with at the World Cup are Oilers centers Connor McDavid, 18, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 22.

McLellan, in his first season with the Oilers, has proven to be a winner in the NHL and internationally. He led Canada to the gold medal at the 2015 IIHF World Championship with a 10-0 record; it was Canada's first gold medal at the event since 2007. McLellan also coached the San Jose Sharks to the Stanley Cup Playoffs six times in seven seasons. They advanced to the Western Conference Final twice, and won three division titles and the 2009 Presidents' Trophy.

Team North America general managers Peter Chiarelli of the Oilers and Stan Bowman of the Chicago Blackhawks also filled out their managerial staff Friday.

Adam Graves was named special assistant to the general managers; Pat Verbeek and Paul Fenton were named directors of player personnel, and Ryan Jankowski was named director of operations.

"We are excited to name our head coach and management team for our World Cup squad," Chiarelli said. "They all know what it takes to win at the highest level and we're looking forward to working together for next September's competition."

Graves, who works in hockey and business operations for the New York Rangers, won the Stanley Cup twice during a 16-season playing career. He also played for Canada at the 1988 IIHF World Junior Championship and the 1993 and 1999 World Championship.

Verbeek is the assistant general manager and director of player personnel with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was part of the management staff for Canada at the 2015 World Championship.

Fenton is assistant general manager of the Nashville Predators. He was the associate general manager for the United States at the 2011 World Championship.

Jankowski is director of player personnel for Hockey Canada. In that role, he is responsible for player evaluations and selections for Canada's national junior teams, including the World Junior Championship. Previously he was assistant general manager of the New York Islanders and a scout for the Montreal Canadiens.

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