The U.S. will have a new coach when it defends its World Junior Championship gold medal in December in Buffalo, as Yale University bench boss Keith Allain was tabbed for the position by USA Hockey Wednesday.
This will be Allain's third stint leading the national junior team into the elite world under-20 tournament. He previously coached the U.S. to back-to-back fifth-place finishes in 2001 and 2002.
"Keith has a wealth of experience, including at the international level, and we're really pleased that he's agreed to lead our team in Buffalo," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey, who also will serve as general manager of the 2011 U.S. National Junior Team. "He knows how to get the most out of players and has proven that at every level of hockey."
Allain has been at his alma mater since 2006, and has led the Bulldogs to three Ivy League titles, two ECAC Hockey regular-season titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances. Yale also has won at least 20 games each of the last two seasons, the first time that's happened in school history.
Prior to coaching at Yale, he was an assistant coach with the Washington Capitals
from 1993-97 and goalie coach for the St. Louis Blues
"It is a great honor to be chosen to coach this team," said Allain. "Every time you get to represent your country, it's a terrific experience. The chance to do so in front of our home fans will make this occasion even more special."
Assisting Allain will be Mark Osiecki
and Joe Exter
, who were assistants last year under coach Dean Blais, and U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Phil Housley.
"It is a great honor to be chosen to coach this team. Every time you get to represent your country, it's a terrific experience. The chance to do so in front of our home fans will make this occasion even more special." -- Keith Allain
In January, the U.S. ended Canada's five-year winning streak by beating them in Saskatoon, claiming the gold medal with a dramatic 6-5 overtime victory on a goal by Washington Capitals
defenseman John Carlson
. It was only the second-ever gold medal for the U.S. at the World Junior Championship; the U.S. also won in 2004.
Carlson won't be back to fight for another gold, but among the players who likely will return are goaltender Jack Campbell
, who earned the win after replacing starter Mike Lee in the second period; rambunctious forward Jason Zucker
, who had 2 goals in seven games; speedy forward Chris Kreider
, a New York Rangers
prospect, who led the team with 6 goals; and forward Jerry D'Amigo
, a Toronto Maple Leafs
prospect who was second on the team with 12 points. Defenseman Cam Fowler
also is eligible, and would be the team's best blueliner if he's not in the NHL. Fowler, like Campbell, is projected to be a first-round pick at the 2010 Entry Draft, June 25-26 in Los Angeles.
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com