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Roenick likes choice of Tortorella as Team USA coach

by Mike G. Morreale

BUFFALO -- USA Hockey made an excellent choice in hiring John Tortorella as coach of Team USA for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, former NHL player Jeremy Roenick said.

Roenick is serving as a coach for one of the teams in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at First Niagara Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN). USA Hockey announced Tortorella as coach on Monday.

"I was happy for him," Roenick said Thursday. "He was my assistant coach when I played for the Phoenix Coyotes, and I have a great relationship with him. I like that passion that he brings to the game. He wears his heart on his sleeve.

"Yes, he does get very verbal and is tough on players, but I like that type of coach. I like that type of motivator, and he deserves to be in hockey."

Tortorella, 57, leads American-born coaches with 446 wins and coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to their only Stanley Cup championship in 2004. He has also coached the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks.

"He's won a Stanley Cup and is a great person to have back in the fold at USA Hockey," Roenick said. "I don't know whether or not he gets back in the NHL, but I hope he does. This is a good stepping stone for him to do that."

Team USA will be in Group A along with Team Canada, Team Czech Republic and Team Europe, comprised of the top players outside the four European countries already competing in the tournament (Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden and Russia). Group B will consist of Team Russia, Team Finland, Team Sweden and Team North America, comprised of the top North American players who will be 23 years old or younger as of Oct. 1, 2016.

All games in the tournament will be played at Air Canada Centre and televised by ESPN in the United States, and Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.


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