COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Mark Osiecki (Burnsville, Minn.) will serve as head coach of the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team, USA Hockey announced today. A three-time assistant coach for the U.S. National Junior Team, Osiecki helped Team USA capture gold medals in 2010 and 2013, plus a bronze medal in 2011.
"Mark has been a great asset to our National Junior Teams in recent years and we're excited that he will be our head coach," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director for hockey operations at USA Hockey, who will also serve as general manager of the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team. "In addition to his international coaching success, he has a wealth of experience coaching young players at the junior, college and professional levels. I'd also like to thank the Chicago Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs for making Mark available to us."
"I'm thrilled to accept the role of head coach for the U.S. National Junior Team," said Osiecki. "Each time I've been on the Team USA staff it's been an extremely rewarding experience. I will incorporate a lot of what I learned from Phil Housley, Keith Allain and Dean Blais at previous tournaments, as well as what I gained from Mike Eaves at Wisconsin. We have great emerging young talent across the country and I can't wait to start working with them in Lake Placid this August."
The 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship will take place Dec. 26, 2014 - Jan. 5, 2015 in Montreal and Toronto, Canada. The U.S. is seeking its fourth medal in six years, having won gold in 2010 and 2013, and the bronze medal in 2011. Team USA will play its preliminary-round games in Montreal. Quarterfinals will be split between Montreal and Toronto. The semifinals, medal games and relegation games will be played in Toronto.
Osiecki has served on a variety of coaching staffs for U.S. National Teams. In 2000, he was head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that placed second at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He led the U.S. Junior Select Team to a first-place finish at the 1999 Freedom Challenge. He was an assistant coach for the 1999 U.S. Under-18 Select Team that finished second at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Osiecki also served as video coordinator for the 2006 U.S. Men's National Team at the IIHF Men's World Championship.
Currently, Osiecki is finishing his first season as an assistant coach for the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs.
From 2010-13, Osiecki was head coach of the Ohio State University men’s ice hockey team. He served as an assistant coach for the University of Wisconsin men’s ice hockey team from 2004-10, helping the Badgers to the 2006 NCAA national title and the 2010 NCAA national championship game.
From 1997-2004, Osiecki was the general manager and head coach of the United States Hockey League’s Green Bay Gamblers. The Gamblers won four straight division titles (1999-2002) and won the Clark Cup in 2000. Osiecki was named the USHL Coach of the Year in 1999.
The former University of Wisconsin defenseman (1987-90) served as an alternate captain for the 1990 NCAA national championship team. He played two seasons in the National Hockey League (1991-93) with the Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota North Stars. He also competed for the U.S. at the 1992 IIHF Men’s World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.
Don Granato (Downers Grove, Ill.) will serve as an assistant coach on his first U.S. National Junior Team. Granato is currently in his third season as a head coach for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. He directed the U.S. National Under-17 Team in 2013-14. Last season, he led the U.S. National Under-18 Team to the silver medal at the 2013 IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship. Granato also has coaching experience at the NHL, AHL, ECHL and USHL levels. Granato won an NCAA national title as a player at the University of Wisconsin, where he was a teammate of Osiecki from 1987-90.
Kevin Patrick (Schenectady, N.Y.) will work as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Junior Team for the first time. He is completing his second season as assistant coach for the University of Vermont men's ice hockey team. Patrick also has served as an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin (2005-10), where he helped the Badgers win the 2006 NCAA national title; Bowling Green State University (2002-05); and Union College (1998-2002). He was a head coach for the USHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks from 2010-12. Patrick played collegiately at the University of Notre Dame (1988-92).
Mike Ayers (Hingham, Mass.) will serve as an assistant coach on his first U.S. National Junior Team. He was Team USA's goaltending coach for the 2012 and 2013 IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championships. Team USA won gold in 2012 and silver in 2013. From 2011-13, Ayers was the goalie coach for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. Ayers is currently in his first season as an assistant coach for Boston College. Additionally, he was the goalie coach for St. Cloud State University's men's ice hockey team from 2009-11. He also was the goalie coach for the AHL's Iowa Chops from 2008-09. Ayers was a standout goalie at the University of New Hampshire and received the 2003 USA Hockey College Player of the Year award.
Adam Nightingale (Cheboygan, Mich.) will serve as video coordinator for the U.S. National Junior Team for the first time. He has spent the last four seasons as director of operations and video coordinator for Michigan State University's men's ice hockey team. Nightingale played two seasons at Lake Superior State University (2000-02) before transferring and playing his last two seasons for Michigan State (2003-05), where he was a two-time alternate captain.
NOTES: Jim Johannson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, is serving as the general manager of Team USA for the sixth consecutive year ... Don Waddell, international consultant for USA Hockey, will assist Johannson in evaluating and selecting players for the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team ... Team USA will compete in a group with Canada, Finland, Germany and Slovakia at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. For more information about the tournament, click here ... Approximately 45 players will attend the 2014 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., Aug. 2-9. Invitees to the camp and a complete schedule will be announced later this spring.