Jeff Sauer (Madison, Wis.) will return as the head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team in 2016-17, marking his sixth straight campaign at the helm. Since first taking the helm in 2011, Sauer has guided Team USA to a 47-4-2-12 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record that includes reaching the championship game of every major international competition and titles in seven major international competitions, including five straight championships.
"Jeff has done a tremendous job in developing our players and guiding the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team to unprecedented success," said Dan Brennan, general manager of the 2016-17 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. "His record speaks for itself and we look forward to another season with him behind Team USA's bench."
"It's been an honor to represent the United States with this group of outstanding hockey players," said Sauer. "Our success is a result of their commitment to one another and I look forward to once again serving as the head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team."
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Last season, Sauer led Team USA to a 6-1-1-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record that began with capturing the 2016 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, and culminated with the team's fifth straight major international championship at the 2016 International Paralympic Committee Pan-Pacific Championship in Buffalo, New York.
Previously, Sauer and Team USA also claimed the 2012 IPC Sled 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 Sled 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. 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 2016-17 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 four seasons.
The U.S. Developmental Sled Hockey Team also revealed its coaching 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. Associate head coach Kip St. Germaine (East Falmouth, Mass.) and assistant coaches Mike Blabac (Hamburg, N.Y.) and Craig Brady (Norwood, Mass.), all former U.S. National Sled Hockey Team members, also return.
Tryouts for the 2016-17 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team will take place July 16-17 at Northtown Center in Williamsville, New York.
Sixty players, including 16 members of the 2016 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 on Saturday, July 16, and one scrimmage on Sunday, July 17.
Preceding the tryouts is the 2016 USA Hockey Sled Hockey Player Development Camp, which began Sunday (July 10) at Northtown Center and conclude on Friday (July 15). Fifty-nine male and female sled hockey players are taking part in the six-day camp, which includes daily practices and games.
NOTES: Labatt USA is a proud sponsor 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 sixth 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 2016 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, is serving as camp director. Jeff Sauer (Madison, Wis.) is serving as camp head coach along with David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.) while Lee Costley (Two Harbors, Minn.), Corey Gorder (Bottineau, N.D.), and Mike Vaccaro (Waldorf, Md.) will be camp assistant coaches ... Additionally, Paralympians Mike Blabac (Hamburg, N.Y.) and Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) will serve as goalie coaches while Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.), Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.), Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) and Andy Yohe (Davenport, Iowa) will also serve as camp mentor coaches.