COLORADO SPRINGS, Unites States – USA Hockey named Ron Wilson, who led the U.S. to the gold medal in the first World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and is the second-winningest active coach in the NHL, as head coach of the 2010 U.S. Olympic men's hockey team.
Wilson, the current head coach of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, will also serve as the head coach of the U.S. team at the 2009 IIHF World Championship, April 24-May 10, in Switzerland.
After some speculation about Wilson
as the head coach at both events, the news was confirmed by USA Hockey on Monday.
“It’s no secret that Ron Wilson is one of the best coaches in the game,” said Brian Burke, general manager of the U.S. team and also the president and general manager of Toronto. “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.”
Wilson, who has coached 1,170 NHL games and has 550 wins, is in his first season as the head coach of the Maple Leafs, which cannot reach the playoffs.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have Ron Wilson as the head coach of our Olympic team and also our squad at the upcoming World Championship,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “He’s an innovative leader who has proven time and again that he is one of the absolute best coaches in the game.”
Wilson has led five different U.S. teams behind the bench and served as an assistant coach once. He played for Team USA five times during his career.
“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,” said Wilson, who will become only the fourth person to lead two different U.S. Olympic teams. “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.”
Most recently, Wilson coached the U.S. at the World Cup of Hockey in 2004, finishing with a 2-3-0 record. He also guided the U.S. to the title of the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996.
Wilson led the 1998 Olympic team at the first Winter Games with NHL players. The U.S. finished in sixth-place in Nagano with a 1-3-0 record.
Under Wilson’s direction, the USA captured the bronze medal at the 1996 World Championship. The medal was the first for the United States in an A-Pool IIHF World Championship since 1962 (excluding Olympic years). He was also coach when the U.S. finished in fourth-place finish at the 1994 World Championship.
Wilson has been involved with USA Hockey since the mid-1970s, playing in the 1975, 1981, 1983 and 1987 World Championships.
Wilson is in his 15th season as a head coach in the NHL, including stops in Toronto (2008-present), San Jose (2002-08), Washington (1997-2002) and Anaheim (1993-97).