PITTSBURGH -- Rob Blake was always grateful to Hockey Canada, the sport’s governing body in his homeland, for giving him the chance to play at the world championships and the Olympics.
Now Blake, the Kings’ assistant general manager, can repay the favor.
Blake was appointed general manager of Team Canada for the men’s world championships, which are scheduled for May 9-25 in Minsk, Belarus. Hockey Canada made the announcement on Wednesday.
“I’ve always been involved with Hockey Canada from Day One,” said Blake, who is accompanying the Kings on their eastern trip. “I’ve had a good relationship with them from the start and I’m willing to help out whenever asked or whenever needed. It’s always been a good experience for me.”
Serving as part of Blake’s management group will be Ron Hextall, Blake’s predecessor in the Kings’ front office. Hextall left Los Angeles last summer to become assistant general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers.
“They contacted me maybe 10 days, two weeks ago. I had worked with them before as an assistant a couple years ago,” Blake said of Hockey Canada’s top executives.
If the Kings are still playing when the world tournament begins, Blake said he will give priority to them and their Manchester (N.H.) American Hockey League farm team and he would stay in North America.
Before taking on the role -- which is for only this tournament -- Blake sought advice from his boss, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi. Blake said Lombardi encouraged him to do it.
“I talked to Dean and he’s done it a few times, or worked on the staff of the U.S. team,” Blake said. “It’s a good way to get to know the players and also you do a little scouting over there, if you end up going over.
“Mostly it’s done on the phone with conference calls, trying to put this thing together.”