Winter Olympics: Freak injury rules Canada ice hockey coach Julien out of Beijing Games

By Sports Desk January 30, 2022 1139

Canada men's ice hockey head coach Claude Julien will miss the Winter Olympics after falling on the ice in a team-building session and suffering broken ribs.

Former New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens coach Julien sustained the injury blow while with the team in Switzerland, where Canada are completing their preparation for the Games in Beijing.

Julien, 61, had been preparing to lead a team who will hope to compete for Olympic gold, an honour Canada have achieved nine times in their history, most recently at the 2014 Games in Sochi. They are hampered this time by players from the NHL sitting out the Olympics, a decision that was announced in December.

Hockey Canada confirmed Julien's injury in a statement that said: "During a team-building activity at training camp in Switzerland, Julien slipped on ice and sustained fractured ribs. As per the advice of the team's medical staff and other medical experts, it was determined that he will be unable to fly to Beijing to participate in the 2022 Olympic Winter Games due to the injury."

Details of what the team-building activity involved have not been revealed.

Team general manager Shane Doan said: "Claude was beyond excited and honoured to be a member of Team Canada at the Olympics, and we are all disappointed that he will no longer be able to lead our team in Beijing.

"Claude is in great spirits and we will continue to do everything we can to support him. We ask that Claude's privacy please be respected at this time."

According to the Toronto Sun newspaper, Doan said Julien was "devastated" when told his injuries meant he could not join the team on their mission to China.

Former Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton takes over from Julien, with Doan saying: "We know he will do an exceptional job leading our team behind the bench in Beijing."

Colliton said: "While it is difficult to fill in for a coach that has a pedigree like Claude Julien, I am honoured to be considered as the person to lead Canada's men's Olympic team as head coach.

"We have a very close-knit, experienced coaching staff that has gained a lot of knowledge from Claude in our short time together, and I know our staff will continue to support each other as we look to achieve our goal of winning an Olympic gold medal."

Canada begin their Olympic campaign against Germany on February 10, before playing further preliminary group games against the United States on February 12 and China a day later.

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Last modified on Sunday, 30 January 2022 18:27
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