Todd Gill’s first taste of coaching internationally left him wanting more.
Gill, Kingston Frontenacs coach, was on the staff of Canada’s bronze-medal winning team at the under-18 world championship in the Czech Republic.
A former National Hockey League defenceman with more than 1,000 games of experience, handled the defence for coach Jesse Wallin.
“It was just an awesome experience,” Gill said. “I thought we did very well to win a bronze considering all the teams we played against were teams that had two years plus of being together.”
The Canadian squad, which included Kingston defenceman Warren Steele, was comprised of players from Canadian Hockey League teams that hadn’t qualified for the playoffs or were eliminated in the first round of post-season play.
Gill said the gold medal-winning American team, part of the U.S. development program, was the class of the competition.
Canada was the only team in the tournament to score against the U.S., losing 5-3 and 3-1.
Gill said he would welcome another chance to coach at the international level. He enjoyed the challenge of coaching against teams playing what he called a different style of hockey, and as an assistant coach, had the opportunity to observe things Wallin did as a head coach.
“You see things more when you are sitting back as an assistant coach,” Gill said.
“The way (Wallin) tells how a system should work, the way he motivates players, how he talks to them between periods. You take out what you think will work for you.”
Gill was in Europe while the Ontario Hockey League priority draft was held. His son, Owen, was a Kingston draft pick, selected in the seventh round.
“Owen was very excited, a little nervous, too,” Gill said.
“It’s going to be different. I’ve never coached him. He still needs a year of Tier II but he will be coming in for the training camp experience.”
While Gill was in Europe Kingston assistant general manager-coach Darren Keily was also there, looking for players the Frontenacs could select in July’s import draft.
OHL teams are allowed two import players. Kingston, with Igor Bobkov gone, have at least room for one Euro pick. A second one would depend on whether forward Petr Beranek comes back.
The popular belief is the Frontenacs will be after a goaltender.
“There’s a lot of good hockey players over there,” Gill said. “We have a list who we thought would be good for us. Darren is making those calls (to players agents) now.
“He will be finding out who will come and who won’t.”
The Frontenacs will select sixth overall in the Canadian Hockey League import draft in July.