PRAGUE, Czechia -- Bill Guerin has his Olympic medal, positioned modestly, in his home office.

A symbol, literally, for the time he played for Team USA at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, wearing the red, white and blue on hockey's biggest international stage.

A conversation starter for others.

"To say that you're an Olympian is really special," Guerin told "That's a really cool thing. To have a silver medal... I have my silver medal on my shelf in my office. It's kind of tucked in a corner. It doesn't stand right out. But when people come over and see that, they're so intrigued with just an Olympic medal, and that's something I really cherish.

"It's unbelievable, the whole experience."

It also doubles as a subtle reminder of one of his greatest hockey accomplishments and a metaphor of the task ahead with Team USA for the man who doubles as president of hockey operations and general manager for the Minnesota Wild.

To get a matching gold.

Because Guerin is gunning for more hardware -- this time from the front office as an integral member of Team USA's staff for both the 2025 NHL 4 Nations Face-Off and the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team set to compete at the 2026 Milan Games.

He was hired in February to front America's efforts for both best-on-best tournaments, tasked with assembling the roster set to compete against Canada, Sweden and Finland in less than a dozen months time, and opposite the entire hockey world in Italy in just 20 months.

The Wild exec has jumped in head-first.

"It was real on Day 1," said Guerin, who made the trip to Czechia for the 2024 IIHF World Championship to get a sneak peek at the team assembled by Brett Peterson in what could be, at least partly, a potential preview to be unveiled down the road.

"I was ready to go. When you're here and I've got my USA logo on and you're wearing the colors, that really kind of gets the excitement going.

"The players that are going to be available to us, we know them well. We'll continue to scout them as we get closer to the tournaments, but for right now we're still a ways away. Mainly, we're going to have meetings again sometime in June. Just get the coaches and the management together and 'how do you want to play' and 'how do you want the team to look' and 'these are our options.'"

The notion of representing Team USA as GM still gets the juices going for Guerin, who wore America's colors at the World Junior Championship in both 1989 and 1990, the World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and 2004, and three trips to the Winter Olympics from 1998 to 2006.

The role is different now.

The fire remains the same.

"It's great," said Guerin, who was initially named general manager of the 2022 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team but was unable to fulfill the role after the NHL opted not to participate in the Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Honestly. It's really exciting. We, as a staff, we're all really excited. You can't play forever, right? But this is a way to kind of do it.

"I'm really excited for this. I'm thrilled."

Guerin, in conjunction with assistant general managers Chris Drury, Bill Zito and Tom Fitzgerald, Minnesota's director of player personnel Chris Kelleher, and head coach Mike Sullivan, will be tasked with assembling the best built American squad for each competition.

The staff will help him juggle both his responsibility with the Minnesota Wild and USA Hockey.

"I've got a lot of good people around me in both situations, and you have to utilize everybody and give everybody a role and let them carry it out," Guerin said. "You don't do it on your own, that's for sure. You just have to utilize the tools that you have."

There could be some overlap, too.

Guerin's connections with the Wild could serve as invaluable information as he assembles the best 20-something American-born players for the head-to-head competitions. The 53-year-old's USA Hockey connections, down the line, could find a way to benefit Minnesota, too.

In a variety of ways.

"You never know," said Guerin, who played 18 seasons in total in the NHL and suited up for the United States when it last won a best-on-best tournament, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

"You never know."

Guerin, already with his nose to the grindstone, has the inside track on a handful of US-born skaters who could compete on the larger stage.

They're in his backyard.

Brock Faber, from Maple Grove, Minnesota, is one of the NHL's best young defensemen and a nominee for the Calder Trophy as the circuit's top rookie. Matt Boldy, who led all preliminary round scorers at the 2024 Worlds with 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in seven games, hails from Milford, Massachusetts.

Both happen to fall under Guerin's tutelage with the Wild.

Their mix could add intrigue to Team USA's roster.

But nothing's guaranteed.

"You have to make hard decisions," said Guerin, who mentioned Boldy's name among those that've impressed from the 2024 Worlds. "If they're the best for the team then that's what we'll do. If there's somebody better or fits better, that's what we'll do.

"Listen, our player pool is incredibly deep now. There will be a lot of difficult decisions, and I think that's going to be the challenging thing... to find the right guys, to find the right chemistry, to find the guys who are going to be able to fill the roles. You have to fill a lot of roles.

"It's going to be important to build the right mix."

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