COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Jeff Sauer (Madison, Wis.) has been named head coach of the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team it was announced today by USA Hockey. Sauer is currently in his second season serving as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team.
In April 2012, Sauer guided Team USA to the gold medal at the International Paralympic Committee World Championship in Hamar, Norway. The U.S. will defend its world title this April in Goyang City, Korea, at the 2013 IPC World Championship.
"Jeff has been a terrific leader for our U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and he was the unquestionable choice for this position," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "He has a wealth of coaching experience at so many levels and has translated that knowledge to the game of sled hockey."
Sauer as Head Coach
of the U.S. National Sled Team
Jan. 2013 USA Hockey Sled Cup 4-0-0 (1st)
Dec. 2012 World Sledge Hockey Challenge 4-1-0 (1st)
April 2012 IPC World Championship 4-1-0 (1st)
Feb. 2012 Series vs. Canada 1-2-0
Dec. 2011 World Sledge Hockey Challenge 3-2-0 (2nd)
U.S. Paralympic Hockey Team
Coaches & Results
Year Head Coach
2010 Ray Maluta 5-0-0 (1st)
2006 Keith Blase 3-2-0 (3rd)
2002 Rick Middleton 6-0-0 (1st)
1998 Angelo Bianco 1-3-1 (6th)
1994 Did Not Compete --
"I'm excited and honored to be chosen for this position," said Sauer. "I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to be the head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team these last two seasons and I look forward to seeing this talented group of players through to next year's Paralympic Games in Sochi."
The U.S. Paralympic Hockey Team will compete in the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games March 7-16, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. The U.S. will be defending its gold medal from the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Games, and seeking its fourth consecutive Paralympic Games medal (2002-gold; 2006-bronze).
Sauer has coached a wide array of U.S. teams throughout his career. He was the head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team at the 1995 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship in Stockholm, Sweden, and at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, Wash., along with serving as head coach for the U.S. Men's Select Team at the 1989 Pravda Cup in Leningrad, Soviet Union, and at the 1997 Tampere Cup in Tampere, Finland.
In addition, Sauer has been deeply involved with the U.S. Deaf Ice Hockey Teams. He will be the head coach of Team USA at the 2013 World Deaf Hockey Championship in Vantaa, Finland this April. Additionally, he has been the head coach of the last three Deaflympic Ice Hockey Teams, leading the U.S. to a gold-medal finish at the 2007 Winter Deaflympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sauer also is currently a member of USA Hockey's International Council and Disabled Hockey Committee, and is president of the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association.
Sauer's illustrious 31-year NCAA Division I college coaching career featured 655 wins (seventh all-time) and two national championships, both of which came during his tenure with the University of Wisconsin (1983, 1990).
Sauer led Wisconsin to three NCAA Men's Frozen Four appearances, 12 NCAA tournament berths, six Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff titles and two WCHA regular-season crowns in 20 seasons as head coach (1982-2002). He also spent 11 years (1971-82) as head coach of the men's ice hockey team at his alma mater, Colorado College, where he was twice named WCHA Coach of the Year (1972, 1975).
In 2011, Sauer was honored with the National Hockey League's Lester Patrick Trophy for his outstanding service to hockey in the United States. In 2000, he was recognized with USA Hockey's Distinguished Achievement Award. He was also named to the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the John 'Snooks' Kelly Founders Award from the American Hockey Coaches Association for his contributions to the overall growth and development of the sport of ice hockey in the U.S.
NOTES:Team USA has won the last three major international events, including the 2009 IPC World Sledge Hockey Championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic; the 2010 Paralympic Games in Vancouver, B.C.; and the 2012 IPC World Sledge Hockey Championship in Hamar, Norway ... During the 2012-13 season, the U.S. has won a pair of international tournaments; Team USA defeated Canada on Dec. 8 in the championship game of the 2012 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Calgary, Alberta, and it topped Korea on Jan. 26 in the title game of the 2013 USA Hockey Sled Cup in Indian Trail, N.C. ... Currently, Sauer and the U.S. National Team are in suburban Ottawa, Ont., to play a three-game series vs. Canada Feb. 14-16 ... The appointment of Sauer is pending approval from the U.S. Olympic Committee ... The management of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team is under the direction of USA Hockey's International Council, chaired by Tony Rossi. Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of USA Hockey, oversees all hockey operations for the organization and Dan Brennan is the general manager of the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team.
For the last 15 years, Ian Walsh has crisscrossed the United States as an NHL official. In this Part 2 of our conversation with Walsh, the 42-year-old Philadelphia native fielded a series of questions discussing life on the road, his conditioning schedule, mentors, on-ice struggles, the evolution of the game and advice for aspiring officials.
USA Hockey: How do you think you've been able to maintain all of the officiating success you've had over the last 15 years?
Ian Walsh: I believe one of my strengths as an official is my work ethic. I come to the rink every night ready to work hard and give 100 percent. I also believe I am very coachable, and when I'm offered a suggestion for improvement, I try very hard to implement that advice into my game.
USAH: What is your conditioning schedule like during the NHL season? How about during the off-season?
Walsh: During the season, conditioning work is more about maintaining what you built up over the summer. The workouts aren't as intense but you must continue to take good care of your body. Game-day workouts usually include a 30-minute bike ride or a couple miles run at the hotel gym. I also like to do some core work and light strength training on top of that.
The weather in Portland is amazing in the summer, and I prefer to be outside and on my road bike. I usually get in about four days a week of riding outdoors to help build my endurance and strength. I try to play hockey a few days a week as well to help work on my skating.
USAH: When did you realize you finally had cemented your career as an official? What was that feeling like?
Walsh: I don't know if you ever get that feeling. Every night is a different challenge in our league. It is a hard, hard league to officiate. The scrutiny of every call, every goal, ever non-call is such a challenge for all of us. The best players and coaches in the world expect us to perform at such a high level every night, and we have to be ready for anything that comes our way. It’s a privilege to be on the ice in the NHL, and I think that is something no official takes for granted.
USAH: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date as an official?
Walsh: Being chosen to participate in four Stanley Cup playoffs is what I'm most proud of. It’s an incredible honor to be selected and that’s the goal for every official each year. Also, being part of the team that was chosen to represent the NHL at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a phenomenal experience and a great opportunity.
USAH: What has been the biggest hurdle/obstacle you've had to overcome in your officiating career?
Walsh: I’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood, that I haven’t had any serious injuries. Other than some bumps and bruises, I’ve been relatively injury-free in my career. The biggest challenge is to be able to bounce back from calls you made that aren't correct. In this day and age, we usually know within minutes after the game if we made a wrong decision. When you make a call that impacts the game, it’s hard on the mind. Unfortunately, we make mistakes and what most people don't understand is that nobody takes it harder than the official making that mistake. Being able to bounce back from a mistake is something all officials must learn to do.
USAH: Who has had the most impact on your officiating career over the past 15 years? What has that person or those people taught you?
Walsh: Nobody has helped me more over my NHL career than fellow referee Paul Devorski. I've worked a lot of games with Paul and we’ve had the opportunity to travel together on the road. As an elite, veteran referee, he has been able to pass down some of his knowledge to me to help me become a better official. Paul is retiring this year, and our staff will sorely miss him.
USAH: How has the game changed, besides speed, since you started in the early 2000s?
Walsh: I would say the biggest change besides the speed of the game would be the use of technology. It is amazing what you see at rink – teams have iPads on the bench, super slo-motion video replays, hi-def video scoreboards, etc. With all that technology, it makes the officials job appear easy. People forget that the official on the ice sees a play one time, in real time, and must make a split-second decision on that play. It often appears quite different when you see a replay in super slo-mo on hi-def after a game.
USAH: What advice can you give aspiring NHL/professional league officials as they progress in their career?
Walsh: I would say make sure you have a backup plan. Making it to the NHL is everyone’s goal, but there are very few jobs available. There are so many factors that go into hiring an official and a lot of those are out of your control. Go and work the highest level available to you. Don't worry about other officials, if you are good enough, the NHL will find you. Also, control what you can control – always work on your skating, know your rules and come to the rink every night with a strong work ethic and a great attitude.
Tag(s): Players & Parents