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USA Hockey Tabs Wilson For Olympic Post

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey today named Ron Wilson, the man who led the U.S. to the gold medal in the first-ever World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and the second-winningest active coach in the National Hockey League, as head coach of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team.


Wilson, the current head coach of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, will also serve as the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship April 24-May 10 in Berne and Zurich-Kloten, Switzerland.

“It’s no secret that Ron Wilson is one of the best coaches in the game,” said Brian Burke, general manager of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey team and also the president and general manager of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. “Our national team management group is excited to have Ron lead our team in Berne and Vancouver. He brings passion, energy, and an overall knowledge of the international landscape to the table that is second to none.”

Wilson, who has coached 1,170 NHL games and has 550 wins to his credit, is in his first season as the head coach of the Maple Leafs.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to have Ron Wilson as the head coach of our Olympic team and also our squad at the upcoming World Championship,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “He’s an innovative leader who has proven time and again that he is one of the absolute best coaches in the game.”

Wilson has been the head coach of five different U.S. teams, an assistant coach once and also played on five U.S. teams over the course of his distinguished career.

“Needless to say, it is quite an honor to have the opportunity to coach our Olympic team in Vancouver and also our team in the upcoming World Championship,” said Wilson, who will become only the fourth person to lead two different U.S. Olympic men’s ice hockey teams. “I’ve enjoyed my involvement enormously with USA Hockey over the years, both as a player and coach, and look forward to the challenge ahead.”

Most recently, Wilson led the United States in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey where it finished with a 2-3-0 record and lost out in the semifinal round of the tournament. He also guided the United States to the championship of the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996, one of the brightest moments in U.S. hockey history. Team USA finished with a 6-1-0 overall record and claimed the title by winning a best-of-three championship series against Canada, including a 5-2 victory in the decisive third game played in Montreal, Quebec.

Wilson also led the 1998 U.S. Olympic Men’s Team at the first-ever Winter Games to feature participation by NHL players. The U.S. skated to a sixth-place finish in Nagano, Japan, with a 1-3-0 record.

Raised in Riverside, R.I., Wilson has twice served as head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team (1994 and 1996) and was an assistant coach for the United States in the 1990 Goodwill Games.

Under Wilson’s direction, the 1996 U.S. National Team posted a 5-3-0 overall record and captured the bronze medal at the 1996 IIHF World Championship in Vienna, Austria. The medal was the first for the United States in an A-Pool IIHF Men’s World Championship since 1962 (excluding Olympic years), when the U.S. also finished with the bronze. He led the 1994 U.S. Men’s National Team to a 4-4-0 overall record and a fourth-place finish at the 1994 IIHF World Championship in Bolzano, Canazei and Milan, Italy.

Beginning as a player, Wilson has been involved with USA Hockey since the mid-1970s, having been a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team in the 1975, 1981, 1983 and 1987 IIHF World Championships. He also captained the 1988 USA Select Team that captured the championship of the prestigious Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland.

COACHING IN THE NHL

Wilson is in his 15th season as a head coach in the National Hockey League, including stops in Toronto (2008-present), San Jose (2002-08), Washington (1997-2002) and Anaheim (1993-97).

In his first year in Toronto, Wilson, who is seventh all-time in NHL history in both wins and games coached, has quickly made a positive impact in guiding one of the NHL’s most storied franchises.

In his four full seasons behind the San Jose Sharks bench, the team advanced to the Western Conference Final for the first time ever in 2004, and reached the Conference Semifinals in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Under Wilson’s guidance, the Sharks are the only NHL team to have won at least one playoff round in each of the past four years.

His Sharks teams garnered two Pacific Division championships (2004 and 2008); twice finished second in their division, and twice posted the second-best point total in the conference. Since 2003-04, no team has appeared in more Stanley Cup playoff rounds (nine) other than the Stanley Cup champion Red Wings (10). Wilson’s team had the third-most NHL playoff series victories (five) behind Detroit (seven) and Anaheim (six) during that time.

With a record of 206-134-45 (W-L-O/T), Wilson surpassed Darryl Sutter as the Sharks’ all-time wins leader on March 1, 2008. He is also the team’s leader in post-season games coached with a 28-24 mark in 52 playoff games.

Wilson coached the Washington Capitals from 1997 until 2002 where he compiled a record of 192-167-51. His tenure in the United States capital was highlighted by the team’s only trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 1998.

Prior to spending five seasons with the Capitals, Wilson had served as the first head coach of the expansion Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 1993, and he led the team to the post-season for the very first time in 1996-97.

In 12 full NHL seasons (minimum 82 games in a season) as head coach, Wilson’s teams have reached the post-season eight times; won four division titles; won one playoff conference title; reached at least 90 points seven times; reached at least 100 points four times; reached at least 40 wins seven times; and reached 50 wins once (51 in 2006-07, which is a Sharks record).

PLAYING IN THE NHL

Wilson, 53, was a seventh-round selection of the Toronto Maple Leafs (132nd overall) in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft. In 117 career NHL games as a player with Toronto and Minnesota, he recorded 26 goals and 67 assists for 93 points.

PLAYING COLLEGE HOCKEY

Wilson played four years of college hockey at Providence (1973-77). He was an All-America selection twice and a four-time All-ECAC selection. As a sophomore, he was named ECAC Player of the Year when he led the nation with 87 points (26 goals and 61 assists) in only 26 games. Wilson, a member of the Providence Athletic Hall of Fame, still holds the school records (and NCAA records for defensemen) in career points (250), assists (172), most points in a single season (87) and single-season assists (61).

Wilson and his wife Maureen have two grown daughters, Kristen and Lauren.

What They’re Saying About Ron Wilson


“When you think of the very best coaches in the game, Ron Wilson’s name most certainly jumps out at you. We have great confidence in his abilities to lead our teams, both at the World Championship this year and the Olympics in 2010.”
From Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey

“Ron’s winning background, both in the NHL and on the international stage, make him the best man to lead the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team. He is a proven winner at all levels.”
From David Poile, associate general manager, 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team

“USA Hockey and Ron Wilson have had a relationship for more than 30 years, dating back to his days as a player. He’s been successful wherever he’s been and we have every confidence in his abilities.”
From Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations at USA Hockey
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