Who is Dennis Williams? Details on Canada’s new head coach for the 2023 World Juniors

Canada will have a new head coach on the bench at the 2023 World Juniors. Hockey Canada announced earlier this fall that Everett Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams will be leading the way for the U20 junior team. 

Williams, 43, replaces Dave Cameron, who helped guide Canada to a gold medal this past summer in his lone tournament with the junior club. It’s not a completely new face, as Williams served as one of the assistant coaches on Cameron’s staff for the 2022 competition. 

The native of Stratford, Ont. brings a plethora of coaching experience — and success — to Canada’s World Junior team. Since he took over as the Silvertips’ head bench boss in 2017-18, no coach has won as many games as Williams has in the WHL. 

His experience with the 2022 team certainly will help as a number of those players, such as Connor Bedard, Olen Zellweger and Logan Stankoven, return for the 2023 edition where they have their eyes on repeating as champions. 

MORE: Team Canada schedule, scores, roster at 2023 World Juniors

As Canada gets set to go back-to-back at the World Juniors, here is what you need to know about Canada’s newest World Juniors head coach. 

Who is Dennis Williams?

Williams played for his hometown team, the Stratford Cullitons, in the since-defunct Mid-Western Junior Hockey League during the mid-90s. After three full seasons with Stratford, he advanced to college hockey, playing for Bowling Green State University in the NCAA. 

In four seasons with the Falcons, the right winger recorded 20 points in 117 games while racking up 198 penalty minutes during that time. Williams’ final collegiate season came in 2000-01. 

After a year of playing senior hockey, Williams returned to Bowling Green as a graduate assistant for the 2002-03 season. The next year, he was an assistant at Division III Utica College before taking the head coaching job at Neumann College, another DIII school. He held the position from 2004-2007. 

Williams returned to the DI level as an assistant with the University of Alabama-Huntsville for one season. He made his return to his alma mater in 2008-09, serving as an assistant coach for Scott Paluch. When Paluch suddenly resigned from his position ahead of the 2009-10 season, Williams was tabbed as the interim head coach. The Falcons went 5-25-6 underneath Williams, which would be his final season as a college coach. 

In 2010, Williams was hired by the Amarillo Bulls of the North American Hockey League as their next head coach. He spent four seasons down in Texas with the Tier II junior team, leading the Bulls to a Robertson Cup National Championship in 2013. In 2014, Williams got the head coaching gig with the Bloomington Thunder of the USHL, the United States’ top junior league. He acted as GM/head coach for three seasons with the Thunder. 

Everett fired Kevin Constantine in 2017 and brought in Williams as the fifth head coach in franchise history. Williams was promoted to GM/coach ahead of the 2020-21 season. 

MORE: Top 10 NHL prospects at 2023 World Juniors

Williams made his first appearance with Canada’s national programs during the 2018-19 season, serving as the head coach for Canada Black at the U17 World Hockey Challenge. The next year, he was an assistant with Canada’s U18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

He was not with any of Canada’s teams during the 2020-21 season but was named an assistant for Cameron’s staff on the U20 team for the 2022 World Juniors. 

Dennis Williams coaching record

The Silvertips have been quite successful since Williams took over the reins from Constantine ahead of the 2017-18 WHL season. 

In the five seasons that Williams has completed with Everett, the team has finished first in the U.S. Division of the WHL’s Western Conference four out of five times and ended with the best regular-season record in Western Conference three times.

The Silvertips made it all the way to the WHL Finals in Williams’ debut season before falling to Swift Current. 

Not including the current season, Williams has compiled a record of 204 wins, 66 losses, 12 OT losses and 12 shootout losses while leading Everett. 

Year Team Record (W-L-OTL-SOL) Playoff Result
2017-18 Everett (WHL) 47-20-2-3 Lost in finals
2018-19 Everett (WHL) 47-16-2-3 Lost in second round
2019-20 Everett (WHL) 46-13-3-1 N/A*
2020-21 Everett (WHL) 19-4-0-0 N/A**
2021-22 Everett (WHL) 45-13-5-5 Lost in first round

* = Season canceled due to COVID-19

** = Playoffs canceled due to COVID-19

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