Dale Hunter expected to be head coach of Canada's 2020 World Junior team

The last time Dale Hunter stood behind a Team Canada bench, he was in Piestany, Slovakia in 2013 and the clock was ticking down to a gold medal victory.

Hunter had led Canada’s Under-18 Team to a win at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

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Dale Hunter may get a chance to stand behind a similar red and white-clad bench of players at an even higher level in the near future.

It is expected that the Petrolia, Ont. native will be named the head coach of Team Canada’s 2020 entry at the World Junior Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic, beginning on December 26 of this year.

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Hunter has had unprecedented success as the head coach of the OHL’s London Knights since 2001. He was the fastest OHL coach to win 500 games and if he keeps up his current pace, he will soon be the fastest to reach 800. That could come early next season — perhaps even before the World Juniors.

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Hunter has been with the Knights since he stepped behind their bench almost 18 years ago, with the small span of time that he spent in the National Hockey League with Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in 2011-12, when he led the Caps to within one win of the Eastern Conference finals.

Team Canada is coming off a quarter-final loss at the 2019 World Juniors in Vancouver. Canada was eliminated after an overtime loss to Finland.

In Trinec and Ostrava in 2020, Canada will be in a tough Group B that features the host Czech Republic, Russia, the United States and Germany.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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