Guelph hockey coach to head Canada
By Alan Russette
On Monday the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union announced its choice for head coach of Canada's hockey team for the 1999 World University Games. Marlin Muylaert, head coach of the defending CIAU champion University of Guelph Gryphons, has been given the task of leading a contingent of the country's best varsity hockey players into the event being held in Slovakia next January.
Muylaert's selection reflects the CIAU's attempt to fairly represent all of the nation's three conferences Ontario, Atlantic and Canada West in international play.
"We're trying to set things up so that [the conferences] will switch off from year to year," Muylaert said. "One year it'll be Canada West, one year Ontario and the Atlantic conference the next."
Ontario University Athletics convenor Bill Oliver seemed pleased with the selection and was confident Muylaert would represent the OUA well.
"Based on his performance in the last five years, he's proven himself to be a winner," Oliver said.
Mustang head coach Barry Martinelli, who was also given serious consideration for the position, spoke highly of Muylaert. Martinelli cited the strength of the Guelph hockey program as an indication of Muylaert's ability as a coach and to be an effective motivator.
"I think he has done an outstanding job at Guelph. He's certainly well respected by his peers," Martinelli said. "He's very knowledgeable and has a keen eye for spotting talent."
Martinelli believes these qualities will serve Muylaert well as he puts together Canada's entry.
Canada's coach said he will be looking for players with all-around ability when he selects the OUA representatives.
"I certainly think we have to look at the ability of Ontario's players to adapt to a different style of play," Muylaert said. "There are less infractions in the European game, so we'll be looking for some good skaters."
Muylaert added that a lack of familiarity with the European university talent pool will create an interesting set of challenges for the Canadian squad.
"It's going to be hard to judge the talent level for this tournament," Muylaert said. "We've had plenty of exposure dealing with the [European] professional teams, but we haven't had much opportunity to see what their university students can do."
Muylaert said he will be relying heavily on the experiences of Tim Bothwell from the University of Calgary, who led a team made up of Canada West standouts into the last World University Games in 1997.
Under Muylaert's guidance, the Gryphons have won the Queen's Cup (the symbol of OUA hockey supremacy) in 1994 and 1997, as well as playing at the CIAU Championship in four of the past five years. A strong performance in January would be a crowning achievement in an already impressive career.