COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Dean Blais (International Falls, Minn.), was today named the head coach of the 2012 U.S. National Junior Team. The appointment marks Blais' third stint as head coach of a U.S. National Junior Team, having led Team USA to the gold medal at the 2010 International Ice Hockey World Junior Championship and also guiding the squad in 1994.
"I'm extremely honored to coach this team," said Blais. "It's really exciting to see how far hockey has come in our country. We now go into the World Juniors expecting to win and that will be our mind set from the summer camp right through the tournament next December and January in Edmonton and Calgary."
The U.S. National Junior Team will take part in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2011 - Jan. 5, 2012 in Calgary and Edmonton, Alta. The U.S. will be aiming for its third consecutive medal, having won the gold medal in 2010 and the bronze medal at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y.
"It's terrific to have Dean back behind the bench of our National Junior Team," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director for hockey operations at USA Hockey, who will also serve as general manager of the 2012 U.S. National Junior Team. "He's an ideal choice not only because he gets the most out of players, but because of his vast level of experience overall, including at the international level."
Blais led the 2010 U.S. National Junior Team to a 5-1-1-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record en route to the United States' first IIHF men's gold medal at any level on Canadian soil. He was also an assistant coach on the 1988 and 1989 U.S. National Junior Teams.
Blais' long history with USA Hockey includes having played for the 1973 U.S. Men's National Team and having served as an assistant coach for both the 1992 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team and the 2000 U.S. Men's National Team.
Blais is currently the head coach of the University of Nebraska Omaha's men's ice hockey team, a position he has held since June 2009. To date, he has led the Mavericks to a 21-15-2 mark in 2010-11 and last week was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Coach of the Year. The Mavericks have won 20-plus games in each of the last two seasons.
Blais' history behind college benches includes a 10-year tenure (1994-2004) at the helm of the University of North Dakota's men's ice hockey team, during which time he led the Fighting Sioux to seven NCAA tournament appearances, two NCAA Division I National Championships (1997, 2000), and an overall record of 262-115-33. He also served as an assistant coach at UND from 1980-89 and for the University of Minnesota in 1976-77.
In addition, Blais served as an associate head coach and director of player development of the National Hockey League's Columbus Blue Jackets from 2004-07; as head coach of the United States Hockey League's Fargo Force in 2008-09; and as head boys' hockey coach at Minot High School (N.D.) (1977-80), Roseau High School (Minn.) (1989-91) and International Falls (Minn.) High School (1992-94).
Blais played four years of hockey (1969-73) at the University of Minnesota before joining the U.S. Men's National Team in 1973. He began his coaching career after skating three years with the Chicago Blackhawks' minor-league affiliate in Dallas.
NOTES: Tim Taylor will serve as director of player personnel for the 2012 U.S. National Junior Team, a role he has held since 2010 ... The remaining staff for the 2012 U.S. National Junior Team will be announced at a later date ... The USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp will take place Aug. 6-13 in Lake Placid, N.Y. ... Players for the 2012 U.S. National Junior Team will be selected in December.
|IIHF World Junior ChampionshipYear||Head Coach||Record (Place)|
|2011||Keith Allain||4-1-0-1* (3rd)|
|2010||Dean Blais||5-1-1-0* (1st)|
|2009||Ron Rolston||3-1-0-2* (5th)|
|2008||John Hynes||4-0-0-2* (4th)|
|2007||Ron Rolston||3-1-2-1* (3rd)|
|2006||Walt Kyle||3-3-1 (4th)|
|2005||Scott Sandelin||3-4-0 (4th)|
|2004||Mike Eaves||6-0-0 (1st)|
|2003||Lou Vairo||4-3-0 (4th)|
|2002||Keith Allain||4-1-2 (5th)|
|2001||Keith Allain||5-2-0 (5th)|
|2000||Jeff Jackson||2-3-2 (4th)|
|1999||Jeff Jackson||3-3-0 (8th)|
|1998||Jeff Jackson||4-3-0 (5th)|
|1997||Jeff Jackson||4-1-1 (2nd)|
|1996||Jack Parker||3-3-0 (5th)|
|1995||Jeff Jackson||3-4-0 (5th)|
|1994||Dean Blais||1-5-1 (6th)|
|1993||Walt Kyle||4-3-0 (4th)|
|1992||Walt Kyle||5-2-0 (3rd)|
|1991||Kevin Constantine||4-2-1 (4th)|
|1990||Steve Cedorchuk||1-6-0 (7th)|
|1989||Steve Cedorchuk||3-3-1 (5th)|
|1988||Terry Christensen||1-6-0 (6th)|
|1987||Dave Peterson||4-3-0 (4th)|
|1986||Dave Peterson||4-3-0 (3rd)|
|1985||Doug Woog||2-5-0 (6th)|
|1984||John Perpich||2-5-0 (6th)|
|1983||Bill Hasler||3-4-0 (5th)|
|1982||Lou Vairo||2-5-0 (6th)|
|1981||Lou Vairo||2-3-0 (6th)|
|1980||Lou Vairo||1-3-1 (7th)|
|1979||Lou Vairo||2-3-0 (6th)|
|1978||Len Lilyholm||4-2-0 (5th)|
|1977||Marshall Johnston||1-5-1 (7th)|