Support staff named for WJAC’s Team Canada East

CALGARY, Alta. The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) has announced Wednesday the trio of individuals who will make up the support staff for Team Canada East during the 2019 World Junior A Challenge, which goes Dec. 7-15, in Dawson Creek, B.C.

Named to Canada East as athletic therapist is Natalie Figueira of the Oakville Blades (OJHL), while J.J. Johnson from the Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) will serve as the club’s equipment manager and Mark Francisco of the Valley Wildcats (MHL) is on board to work with Figueria and Johnson in both therapist and equipment capacities.

Entering her third year with the defending OJHL and Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion Blades, Figueira will be making her first appearance with Canada East for the WJAC.

Beginning his third campaign with Powassan in the NOJHL, Johnson too will be representing Canada on the international stage for the first time.

In his league he has been recognized multiple times with awards and has twice served as head trainer and equipment manager for Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Cup All-Star Challenge.

As for Francisco, this marks the second time he’ll be part of Canada East having been the team’s athletic therapist during the 2017 WJAC.

He has been part of the Valley Wildcats in the MHL for the past five seasons.

“We would like to congratulate all the members of Team Canada East and Canada West on their respective appointments as support staff for the World Junior A Challenge,” stated CJHL president Brent Ladds.

“Their experience, commitment and dedication to each of their CJHL teams makes them all worthy in earning this opportunity to be part of such a prestigious event,” added Ladds.

Canada East will be holding their selection and identification camp Aug. 7-9, in Cornwall, Ont.

A list of player invitees for this three-day event will be released once finalized.

Canada East WJAC staff

Director of operations: Mark Grady
Head coach: Martin Dagenais, Ottawa Jr. A Senators (CCHL)
Assistant coach: Corey Beer, Timmins Rock (NOJHL)
Assistant coach: Greg LeLand, Campbellton Tigers (MHL)
Assistant coach: Dan Sauve, Rockland Nationals (CCHL)
Athletic therapist: Natalie Figueira, Oakville Blades (OJHL)
Equipment manager: J.J. Johnson, Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL)
Athletic Therapist/Equipment manager: Mark Francisco, Valley Wildcats (MHL)