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Church steps down Canadian women's hockey coach

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December 12, 2013 11:43 PM EST | AP


CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Dan Church resigned Thursday as coach of the Canadian women's hockey team, saying he felt others lacked confidence in his ability to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

The announcement was made before Canada's 5-1 exhibition loss to the United States.

Hockey Canada said assistant coaches Lisa Haley and Danielle Goyette will serve as co-coaches until a new head coach is named.

"If there isn't confidence in what I'm doing, I need to step aside and let the team move on," Church told The Canadian Press. "I'm heartbroken, to be honest, about the whole situation."

He did not specify whether players or Hockey Canada management questioned his competence.

"Just discussions I'd had over the last few days made that apparent, in some meetings I'd had with leadership," Church said. "I think it was just difference of opinion on the direction we were headed. In the end, I just decided if I'm getting in the way of where the team needs to go, I need to step aside and let them continue on in the process."

Canada is attempting to win a fourth straight gold medal in Sochi after victories in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Church, from Toronto, signed a two-year contract to coach the women's team in June 2012. He coached Canada to the world title that year in Burlington, Vt. Canada lost the final of this year's world championship to the U.S. in Ottawa.