DETROIT -- Detroit Red Wings goaltending coach Alex Westlund enjoyed a 16-year professional hockey career prior to beginning his coaching career, including helping Team USA win the 2003 Deutschland Cup and earn a bronze medal at the 2004 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship.

But for Westlund, making his first international appearance on Team USA’s coaching staff as its goaltending coach at the 2024 IIHF World Championship, which was held May 10-26 in Czechia, created a new lifelong memory.

“It’s a huge honor anytime you are involved in something like that,” Westlund told on Tuesday. “I was fortunate enough to play for the United States twice and those are two of my favorite memories as a player. Now to be on the coaching side, I’m saying the exact same thing. From that standpoint, it’s just an awesome thing to be asked to do.”

The U.S. Men’s National Team placed fifth at the international tournament, going 5-0-1-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) overall. Westlund said while the U.S. fell short of its goal of winning gold, working alongside world-class coaches and players was enriching.

“The tournament itself is a really unique process,” Westlund said. “It’s a short, intense period of time. So as coaches, we’re all excited to be around each other. We’re trying to pick up some new things. You also get to see different personalities being around the players.”

Westlund, along with Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde, defenseman Jeff Petry, goalie Alex Lyon and goaltending prospect Trey Augustine, all represented the red, white and blue.

Working with Lalonde, who served as an assistant coach for the U.S. for the second straight year, was a fun experience for Westlund.

“We all work so closely day in and day out,” Westlund said. “It’s nice to be coaching together towards a goal, but it’s different than our day-to-day goal during the season. For me, there was a comfort level knowing (Lalonde) was there.”

Westlund said the in-game atmosphere at Worlds was intense and exciting.

“It’s a little bit of a European soccer vibe, just constant chanting throughout the games,” Westlund said about the crowds throughout the tournament. “There’s a buzz to it. Obviously there aren’t a ton of USA fans who go to this event, so it feels like a lot of road games, but it’s a really fun atmosphere to play in. NHL buildings are awesome, especially in the playoffs when places are electric, but it’s just a different electric there.”

Westlund said he’s excited for the 2024-25 season, which will be his third as Detroit’s goaltending coach. When reflecting on the 2023-24 campaign, Westlund said he appreciated the professionalism and compete level Lyon, Ville Husso and James Reimer all brought to the Red Wings’ crease every single day.

“It’s not easy carrying three (goalies) and for them, it’s probably not what they wanted because they all want to play,” Westlund said. “But they built relationships and pushed each other on the ice. From a higher perspective, that’s one of the most important things you could ask for. If they’re not all pulling the same direction, it becomes a lot harder to succeed.”