The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing will have a little bit of Vegas Golden Knights flavor. Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, the reigning back-to-back Stanley Cup champion, will be the head coach, but Team Canada announced that Golden Knights bench boss Pete DeBoer will be an assistant.
As part of the league’s give back to the NHLPA for agreeing to the new CBA and playing in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs bubble in Edmonton and Toronto, the league agreed to let the players go to the 2022 and 2026 Olympics.
Despite some questions about feasibility and extenuating circumstances, such as COVID-19 and its variants, the league built a three-week break into the 2021-22 schedule.
Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy and New York Islanders boss Barry Trotz will be the other assistant coaches.
DeBoer first assisted Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in 2005, which was a star-studded affair. The NHL lockout allowed future Hall of Famers like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and Evgeni Malkin to play in the tournament held in Grand Forks, ND. Team Canada won gold with a team that mostly played in the NHL the following season.
Also on that 2005 team under assistant coach DeBoer were Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Getzlaf, Jeff Carter, Corey Perry, and Shea Weber.
Brent Sutter was the head coach.
DeBoer’s coaching career includes four NHL head-coaching stops, Florida, New Jersey, San Jose, and the Golden Knights. His San Jose Sharks team lost in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final to Pittsburgh.
Presuming no COVID delays or shortening, DeBoer will coach his 1000th NHL game late this season. In 933 games, his record is 470-338-115 (.544).
DeBoer may be reunited with now-former Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who is said to be very interested in playing in the 2022 Olympics, as well as current players Mark Stone and Alex Pietrangelo, who are strong contenders for the Team Canada squad. Pietrangelo played for Team Canada in 2010.
Canada has won the last two NHL-included Olympics, 2010 and 2014. The NHL did not participate in 2018, and the team which represented the Russian federation won gold.