COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Hilary Witt (Canton, Mass.), Bobby Jay (Burlington, Mass.) and Robb Stauber (Duluth, Minn.) have been named to the coaching staff for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team, it was announced today by USA Hockey. All three, who have been serving as assistant coaches for the 2013-14 U.S. Women's National Team during the Bring on the World Tour, will be making their first appearance as assistant coaches at the Olympics.
“We're pleased to add Hilary, Bobby and Robb to our Olympic coaching staff and look forward to the continuity and experience they bring as we prepare our team for Sochi,” said Reagan Carey, general manager of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team and director of women’s hockey at USA Hockey. "We've also assembled an outstanding support staff and look forward to their contributions as well."
"Hilary, Bobby, Robb and I have been working together for some time now and I have the utmost respect for their ability and perspective," said Katey Stone, head coach of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team. "I'm fully confident that we can collectively help guide this team to great success at the Olympics."
Witt, who will serve as an assistant coach, is head scout of women's hockey at USA Hockey. She has been involved with the U.S. Women’s National Team over the last seven years, helping the U.S. win a pair of gold medals (2011, 2013) and two silver medals (2007, 2012) at the IIHF Women’s World Championship. She also helped Team USA capture the Four Nations Cup title in 2011 and 2012, along with a second-place finish in 2010. The Canton, Mass., native joined USA Hockey in July 2012 after two seasons as assistant coach at Northeastern University. Prior to that, Witt spent nine campaigns at Yale University (2001-10), including eight as the head coach of the women’s ice hockey team. She was named the 2002-03 ECAC Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year. As a player, Witt competed on the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2001 and was a two-time All-ECAC selection while playing for Northeastern. She was inducted into the Northeastern Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Women’s Beanpot Hall of Fame in 2010.
Jay is making his seventh appearance as assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team after serving on the coaching staff at the 2012 and 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championships and the last three Four Nations Cups (2011-13). He also served as an assistant coach at the Women’s National Festival in Blaine, Minn., in 2011 and 2012. Prior to joining Team USA, Jay served as an assistant coach of Harvard University’s men’s ice hockey team, a position he held from 2004-06 and again from 2009-11. From 1999-2001, Jay was an assistant coach with the Detroit Vipers (International Hockey League) and Manchester Monarchs (American Hockey League). In 2003-04, Jay served as general manager of the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage before joining Harvard. Jay, who played professional hockey for 10 seasons as a defenseman in the IHL, AHL and NHL, is the hockey director for the East Coast Wizards hockey club.
Stauber, who will serve as goaltending coach and scout, has been involved with the U.S. Women’s National team since 2009, focusing on coaching and development of its goaltenders. He has 10 years of professional hockey experience, including four seasons in the National Hockey League with the Los Angeles Kings and Buffalo Sabres. The Duluth, Minn., native also spent time in the IHL and AHL. At the University of Minnesota, he was the first goaltender to win the Hobey Baker Award (1988). He was also the recipient that year of the WCHA Player of the Year award and was named All-WCHA First Team and All-America First Team. Additionally, Stauber was recognized as WCHA Goaltender of the Year in 1988 and 1989. Stauber also represented the U.S. at the 1987 IIHF World Junior Championship and 1989 IIHF Men's World Championship. Stauber served as the goalie coach for the University of Minnesota’s men’s team from 1998-2008, helping the squad win the national championship in 2002 and 2003. He served in the same capacity for the University of Minnesota Duluth women’s team from 2004-08, where the Bulldogs captured the 2008 NCAA Championship.
The support staff for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team includes strength and conditioning coaches Mike Boyle (Boston, Mass.) and Sarah Cahill (Cambridge, Mass.); mental skills coach Dr. Colleen Hacker (Tacoma, Wash.); team physician Dr. Holly Johnson (Newton, Mass.); athletic trainer Jill Radzinski (Davis, Calif.); massage therapist Jennifer Chee (Colorado Springs, Colo.); nutritionist Alicia Kendig (Colorado Springs, Colo.); equipment manager Brent Proulx (St. Paul, Minn.) and director of communications Rob Koch (Colorado Springs, Colo.).
NOTES: The 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team is under the direction of Reagan Carey (Colorado Springs, Colo.), director of women's hockey for USA Hockey ... Katey Stone (Arlington, Mass.) was named head coach of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team on June 8, 2012 ... USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Gavin Regan, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. National Teams ... The 2014 Olympic Winter Games will take place Feb. 7-23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
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.