NHL alumni defencemen Rob Blake was named general manager of team Canada for the IIHF world hockey championship taking place in Minsk, Belarus from May 9-25, Hockey Canada announced Wednesday.
Blake, 44, is currently serving as the assistant to Los Angeles Kings‘ GM Dean Lombardi. This is his first season as an assistant GM after three years with the NHL’s player safety department. He aids Lombardi with many of the management responsibilities such as contract negotiations, player personnel as well as overseeing the club’s top prospects. He is also the general manager of the Kings’ AHL-affiliate Manchester Monarchs.
The native of Simcoe, Ont. worked under GM Dave Nonis with the 2011 world championships team. Canada finished fifth in that tournament after losing 2-1 to the Russians in the quarter-finals.
As a player, Blake won a gold medal in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and two World Championship golds in 1997 and 1994. He currently ranks nineteenth all-time in scoring among NHL defencemen after playing 20 seasons with the Kings and Colorado Avalanche.
The 1998 Norris trophy winner is tasked with building a team that will travel across the Atlantic with the goal of ending a World Championship gold drought that dates back to 2007.
Canada currently ranks third overall in the men’s world rankings thanks to their gold medal triumph in Sochi. The team will open the tournament against France on May 9.