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Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan to coach the US men’s hockey team, if NHL players go to Beijing

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Mike Sullivan of the Pittsburgh Penguins will coach the US men’s hockey team if the NHL goes to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

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USA Hockey announced its coaches for the 2022 Games on Wednesday. Along with Sullivan, Joel Johnson of St. Thomas will coach the women’s national team, which is chasing a second straight gold medal. David Hoff has been named head coach of the US Paralympic bobsleigh team.

Sullivan, 53, has served as head coach for the Penguins for the former six seasons, winning back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2016 and 2017. The Massachusetts native has a life coaching record of 321-187 with 15 draws and 66 overtime losses with the Penguins and Boston. Bruins. He has international experience, most recently as assistant coach John Tortorella at the 2016 Hockey World Cup. He also worked as an assistant coach on Peter Laviollette’s staff at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Penguins’ president of hockey operations, Brian Burke, said the team was thrilled when the U.S. hockey team reached out and asked Sullivan to coach the Olympic team.

We think he deserves it. We honestly think he should have been the NHL Coach of the Year Finalist. It would be a distinguished experience for him, if we go,” said Burke, who was the general manager of Team USA USA. 2010 and 2014 personnel manager.

Burke said Sullivan is a pleasing Olympic coach because he understands the nuances involved in a short tournament.

“It’s really critical. People don’t realize how quickly the Olympics come and then go. You have to get your team on the alike page right away, teams that don’t have a problem. So you have to pick the right team, load in all the right roles,” Burke said And the coach has to put it on the alike page immediately. There is no time to rest.”

Sullivan is the Penguins’ second coach to lead the men’s Olympic hockey team in the former decade, with Dan Bilsma leading the 2014 team to fourth in Sochi.

The 2021-22 NHL routine season schedule will include a burst for the Winter Olympics, which are said to be scheduled for February 4. 5-22.

But the NHL’s participation in the Winter Games is not yet guaranteed. After skipping the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, the NHL agreed to allow its players to return to the Olympics in 2022 and 2026 as part of a four-year extension of the collective bargaining agreement it struck with the NHL Players’ Association final summer. But there are still details, including on COVID-19 lockdown, that must be settled with the NHLPA and the International Ice Hockey Federation.

On the women’s side, Johnson has over 20 years of collegiate experience, which includes two stints (1999-2004 and 2010-2021) over 16 years as either an assistant or co-coach for the University of Minnesota’s women’s ice hockey program. He will be behind the bench at the IIHF Women’s World Championships (August 20-31) in Calgary, Alberta. The United States is trying to triumph the sixth successive gold medal in that tournament.


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