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USA Hockey tabs Wilson for Olympic post

by Dan Rosen
USA Hockey officially announced Monday on its web site that Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson will coach the U.S. Olympic team at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Wilson will also serve as the national team head coach at the IIHF World Championships, which begin later this month in Berne and Zurich-Kloten, Switzerland.

Wilson will be only the fourth person to lead two different U.S. Olympic men's ice hockey teams. He, along with Team USA General Manager Brian Burke and other USA Hockey executives, will be on a teleconference with reporters later this morning.

"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," Wilson said. "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."

Wilson was always in the running for the job, but he became the odds-on favorite as soon as Burke took over as President and GM in Toronto earlier this season. His experience with USA Hockey is well documented.

He led the Americans to a gold medal in the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and then coached Team USA at the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano. Wilson also coached the U.S. entry into the 1994 and 1996 IIHF World Championships as well as the World Cup of Hockey in 2004, the last time it was played.

"It's no secret that Ron Wilson is one of the best coaches in the game," Burke said. "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."

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