TRURO, N.S. – As the World Junior A Challenge gets underway Sunday afternoon in Nova Scotia, Team Canada West bench boss Scott Barney is among those that are savouring the chance of being part of this international hockey event.
The head coach and general manager of the Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) is in his initial stint of guiding the squad after serving as an assistant back in 2019, when they finished fifth overall.
Back again behind the bench, Barney is enthusiastic to be associated with the four-nation tournament, which also features Canada East, the United States, Sweden and Slovakia.
“It’s major honour to be head coach of Team Canada West,” offered the 44-year-old Oshawa, Ont., product. “Anytime you get to represent your country, it’s a life-changing opportunity.”
Heading into their WJAC opener Sunday against the Swedes, Barney and his coaching staff of Alex Mandolidis (Winnipeg Blues/MJHL); Kelvin Cech (Niverville Nighthawks/MJHL) and Bryan Arneson (Sherwood Park Crusaders/AJHL), along with director of operations, Nigel Dube (Lloydminster Bobcats/AJHL), have put the work in to get their team ready to go, come puck drop.
“It’s been a long process that occurred, from watching hours of video; tracking players and talking to many different coaches to make sure we were not only getting the right hockey players, but the right people as well,” said Barney when discussing the time spent formulating the Canada West roster. “It’s a unique process and something that is great to experience and go through.”
Like when selecting any team you look to have success with, the task of doing so is never easy.
“The most difficult part is trying to fit all the pieces into a puzzle while trying to make all those pieces come together and have a balanced line-up throughout,” provided the Canada West skipper.
Having their roster finalized, Barney feels his squad will have plenty to offer in Truro.
“We feel our strength should be our depth and competitiveness, with having all the players pushing each other every shift of the tournament,” he replied when talking about his forwards, defensive corps, and goaltenders.
Like every side competing in the WJAC, Barney has high hopes for his charges.
“Our goal will be to win a gold medal, but we do understand it’s going to take a total team effort from the players, right down to all our staff members, to get everyone on the same page right away and be – all in.”
With that, the entire experience over the course of the eight-day event is certainly something Barney aims to relish: “I’m looking forward to the challenge and opportunity to coach all these elite hockey players and work closely with the staff, who are all representing western Canada.”
All World Junior A Challenge round robin games, as well as both semifinal contests, and the bronze medal match-up will be live-streamed via hockeycanada.ca.
Photo credit: Marla Possberg