Charlottetown Islanders' Hulton named assistant coach for world junior hockey
'I'm very excited for the opportunity that lies ahead'
The head coach of the Charlottetown Islanders will take on a new role with Canada's world junior hockey team this year.
Jim Hulton from Ontario was named an assistant coach for the national squad on Tuesday.
I think the success the team has had has upped the profile of everyone involved.— Jim Hulton
He joins head coach Tim Hunter of the Moose Jaw Warriors and assistants Marc-Andre Dumont of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and Brent Kisio of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
"It's a huge honour and pleasure," Hulton said in a telephone interview with CBC.
"Any time you get the opportunity to represent your country in any capacity, it's something you take pride in. I'm very excited for the opportunity that lies ahead."
Girouard, MacKenzie to take over during tournament
Hulton got a call from Hockey Canada after the Islanders' season to gauge his interest, and said the timing worked out for his family and the organization.
The club re-signed its hockey operations staff for two years in May, and Hulton said that makes it easier to leave for the tournament, which begins Boxing Day.
Associate coach Guy Girouard and assistant coach Brad MacKenzie will take the reins while Hulton is gone.
"It makes it a lot easier because there's continuity and we've all been together here for a couple of seasons."
Joseph will 'be a candidate' for Team Canada
Being selected reflects the Islanders' strong performance in recent years, Hulton said. The club has reached the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinals the past two seasons, and made it to the second round each of the two years before that.
"I think the success the team has had has upped the profile of everyone involved, players and staff alike. It's certainly a big reason an opportunity like this came along."
Islanders defenceman Pierre-Olivier Joseph didn't make Team Canada last year, but Hulton said the Arizona Coyotes first-round pick has a shot this time around.
"He's certainly going to be a candidate, that's for sure. He's a pretty high-profile 19-year-old defenceman in the [Canadian Hockey League], so I think it's safe to say he will contend for a spot."
'You learn as a coach'
Hulton will fly to Calgary July 18-19 for meetings with the other coaches. The summer evaluation camp will be held in Kamloops, B.C., the first week of August.
Half the coaching staff come from Maritime teams and Hulton said having a familiar face in Dumont will help. He hasn't worked with Hunter or Kisio before.
"The great part of these experiences is how much you learn as a coach. Any time you get to spend a bunch of time with three great junior coaches, you can't help but walk away from the experience a better coach."