Craig Hartsburg will be back behind the bench for the Canadian world junior hockey team. ((Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press))

Craig Hartsburg will have a chance to follow in Brent Sutter's footsteps and lead Canada to consecutive world junior hockey championships.

Hartsburgh, the head coach of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League, was confirmedas coach of the Canadian junior team by Hockey Canada on Tuesday.

"I consider the World Junior Championship to be one of the greatest hockey events there is, so it is a great honour to be part of it once again," Hartsburg said. "With that honour comes great responsibility, and I am looking forward to the challenge ahead, as well as the opportunity to work with Curtis and Clément once again."

Curtis Hunt of the WHL's Regina Pats and Clément Jodoin of the Lewiston Maineaics of the Quebec league will return as Hartsburg's assistants.

Hartsburg, 47,led Canada to six wins en route to the gold medal in Leksand, Sweden, in early January. Canadian squads have won 18 games in a row since a loss in the 2004 final.

Hartsburgserved as an assistant coach on the team thatSutter helmed for his second gold medalin 2006. Hartsburg spent 10 years in the NHL as a defenceman and was later head coach for both Chicago and Anaheim.

Canada will begin the quest for a fourth consecutive title against host Czech Republic on Dec. 26. Tournament games will be held in the cities of Pardubice and Liberec, with the gold medal game on Jan. 5, 2008.

Canada won the event five times between 1993-97 and then went without a gold until the 2005 win under Sutter that started the current streak.

The Canadian team should boast several new faces. Last year's team included 11 tournament returnees and others who were in their last year of junior eligibility.

Sam Gagner of the London Knights, expected to go high in the first round of the upcoming NHL June entry draft, is one player who could return.

John Tavares, just named the CHL's player of the year, heads a list of potential players who were late cuts at last year's training camp. The listincludes Angelo Esposito (Quebec Remparts), Ben Maxwell (Kootenay Ice) and Drew Doughty (Guelph Storm).

Hockey Canada will soon announce a separate coaching staff for an eight-game series againstRussianjuniorsto take place in August and September, the 35th anniversary ofthe legendaryeight-gameSummit Series between Russia and Canada.