USA Hockey announced today that Jeff Sauer (Madison, Wis.) will serve as head coach of the 2015-16 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. Last season, Sauer led Team USA to an undefeated 12-1-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record that culminated with a gold medal at the 2015 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship in Buffalo, New York. He also served as head coach of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team that claimed gold at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
"Jeff has been instrumental in the success of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team over the last several seasons," said Dan Brennan, director of inline and sled hockey for USA Hockey, who will also serve as general manager of the 2015-16 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. "He has played an important role not only in the development of our players, but the sport as a whole, and we look forward to another season with him behind the bench."
"It is an honor to continue with this outstanding group of hockey players," said Sauer. "With our success in the past, each season brings new challenges and expectations. I look forward to our program's continued development and success."
Since taking the helm in 2011, Sauer has guided Team USA to a 41-3-1-11 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record that includes reaching the championship game of every major international competition and titles in five major international events, including the 2012 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship in Hamar, Norway; the 2012 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Calgary, Alberta; the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the 2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Leduc, Alberta; and the 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship in Buffalo, New York.
Inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014, Sauer continues to add to his coaching legacy. This past April, he led the U.S. Deaflympic Hockey Team to a bronze medal at the 18th Winter Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. He was also behind Team USA’s bench at the 16th Winter Deaflympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the U.S. claimed gold.
In addition to serving as head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team at the 1995 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship in Stockholm, Sweden, Sauer's illustrious 31-year NCAA Division I college coaching career featured 655 wins (10th 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 (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).
USA Hockey also announced today its support staff for the 2015-16 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, including athletic trainer Mike Cortese (Boynton Beach, Fla.), equipment manager Joel Isaacson(Houghton, Mich.), and team physician Mike Uihlein (Grafton, Wis.). Cortese, Isaacson, and Uihlein have been staff members for the past three seasons.
The U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team also revealed its staff today for the upcoming season. Jeremy Kennedy (Colorado Springs, Colo.), manager of disabled hockey for USA Hockey, will return as general manager while Mike MacMillan (Buffalo, Minn.), USA Hockey's national coach-in-chief, will again serve as head coach. Former U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team members Kip St. Germaine(East Falmouth, Mass.) and Mike Blabac (Hamburg, N.Y.) return as associate head coach and assistant coach. Rounding out the staff is physiotherapist Rett Talbot (Delray Beach, Fla.) and equipment manager Bill Sandberg (Parker, Colo.).
Tryouts for the 2015-16 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team will take place July 12-13 at Northtown Center in Williamsville, New York.
Sixty-five players, including all 17 members of the 2015 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, are expected to try out for the national team. The players will be divided into four teams and play two scrimmages per day.
Both the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team rosters will be announced on July 17.
Preceding the tryouts will be the 2015 USA Hockey Sled Hockey Player Development Camp, which begins today at the Northtown Center and concludes on Saturday (July 11). Fifty-six male and female sled hockey players will take part in the six-day camp, which will include daily practices and games.
NOTES: Jeff Sauer (Madison, Wis.) is entering his fifth campaign as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.), director of inline and sled hockey for USA Hockey, is serving as the general manager of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team for the fifth consecutive year ... Tryouts for the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team are open to all disabled sled hockey players 15 years of age or older ... The purpose of the 2015 USA Hockey Sled Hockey Player Development Camp is to identify, train and educate the top sled hockey athletes in the United States ... J.J. O'Connor (Mount Prospect, Ill.), chair of USA Hockey's Disabled Section, will serve as camp director. Sauer will serve as camp head coaches along with David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.) and Gregg Marinari (Rockville, Md.), while Lee Costley (Two Harbors, Minn.) and Mike Vaccaro (Waldorf, Md.) will be camp assistant coaches ... Adding to the camp's staff will be Paralympians Mike Blabac (Hamburg, N.Y.), Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.), Dan McCoy (Cheswick, Pa.), Josh Sweeney (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Andy Yohe (Davenport, Iowa).