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Quesnel coach to boss Team WHL in 2019 Canada-Russia Series

Mitch Love adds annual showcase selection to international resume
Mitch Love - Saskatoon Blades Coach 3
Saskatoon Blades Head Coach Mitch Love is from Quesnel, B.C. south of Prince George (via Saskatoon Blades)

A hockey coach from northern B.C. is once again being called to wear Canada’s cap in an international showcase against a familiar foe.

Mitch Love will boss the best Western Hockey League (WHL) players for the final two games of the upcoming 2019 CIBC Canada-Russia Series in November, in which regional teams will face-off against the Russian National Junior Team.

The Quesnel product is currently in his second season as the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades and led the franchise back to post-season hockey last year for the first time since 2013.

The 35-year-old compiled a 45-15-0-8 record, good enough for second place in the WHL’s Eastern Conference before being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.

Back in May, Love was announced as one of the new assistant coaches for Hockey Canada’s National Under-20 squad in preparation for the 2020 World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic.

He was also one of the coaches for Prince George Cougars’ netminder Taylor Gauthier at the 2018 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, in which Canada prevailed 6-2 over Sweden in the gold medal game.

Love may also have an advantage in the Canada-Russia Series as the first of two games featuring the WHL will be in Saskatoon on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

The second contest on Thursday, Nov. 14 will take place in Prince Albert, home to the 2019 WHL-champion Raiders.

The Prince George Cougars got the chance to host a Canada-Russia Series game at the CN Centre in 2016.

The event is part of the identification process for Team Canada prior to the World Juniors.

Canadian Hockey League teams have been on the winning side of this tournament since the inaugural event in 2003 with an overall record of 63-25-2-6.