COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey announced today that Maura Crowell (Mansfield, Mass.), head coach of the University of Minnesota Duluth women's ice hockey team, has been named head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Women's National Team for the 2018-19 season. Joining her as assistant coaches will be Josh Sciba (Westland, Mich.), head women's ice hockey coach at Union College, and Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.), member of the gold medal-winning 2018 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team.
“We are excited for Maura to lead the charge and are confident that our U18 team will benefit from the expertise of this uniquely qualified coaching staff in the coming season,” said Reagan Carey, director of women’s hockey at USA Hockey.
Crowell will lead the U.S. Under-18 Women's Select Team at the 2018 Under-18 Women's Series against Canada from Aug. 14-19 in Calgary, Alberta, and guide the U.S. Under-18 Women's National Team at the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women's World Championship that is anticipated to take place in early 2019.
Crowell will also serve on the staff at the upcoming Under-18 Girls Select Player Development Camp June 23-29 in Biddeford, Maine, as well as during the 2018 USA Hockey Women's National Festival Aug. 6-13 in Lake Placid, New York.
Crowell is serving as head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Women's National Team for the first time in her career, after having served as associate coach in 2017-18 and assistant coach in 2015-16. In both previous seasons, Team USA has taken home gold medals from the IIHF Under-18 Women's World Championship. Crowell has additional experience with USA Hockey, having also coached at a pair of USA Hockey Women's National Festivals, and during the 2017 and 2015 Under-18 Series against Canada.
"It's such an honor to have been called to lead this year's under-18 women," said Crowell. "I'm continually impressed with the level of talent and focus in each of these young players, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to help this year's group reach its full potential."
Crowell completed her third season as head coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2017-18. She led the Bulldogs back into the NCAA playoffs during the 2016-17 season, its first tournament appearance since 2011. For her efforts that season, Crowell was recognized as the USCHO Division I Women's Coach of the Year, CCM/AHCA Division I Women's Ice Hockey Coach of the Year and WCHA Coach of the Year.
Prior to joining the University of Minnesota Duluth, Crowell spent five seasons as part of the Harvard University women's hockey team coaching staff. During her time with the Crimson, Harvard reached the NCAA tournament three consecutive seasons (2013-15). Crowell also led the University of Massachusetts-Boston women's hockey team for five years from 2005-10, finishing her time there as UMass Boston's all-time winningest coach. For her efforts during the 2009-10 season, Crowell was named ECAC Coach of the Year. She also served two seasons as assistant coach at Connecticut College, where she began her coaching career in 2003. As a player, Crowell was a member of the Colgate University women's ice hockey team.
Sciba will be serving as assistant coach for the U.S. Under-18 Women's National Team for the first time. He has been a coach annually at USA Hockey Under-18 Girls Player Development Camps for the past 10 years, and recently served as a coach during the 2017 USA Hockey Women's National Festival in Lake Placid, New York. Sciba is currently the head coach of the Union College women's hockey team, a position he has held since 2016. Under his guidance, the Dutchwoman hockey program has shown steady growth. He was named a top-three finalist for the ECAC Coach of the Year in 2017-18. Prior to joining the Union staff, Sciba served as an assistant women's hockey coach at Colgate University from 2012-2016. In his final season with the Raiders, Sciba helped the team to a program-best 22 wins. He also spent four years on the Niagara University women's hockey coaching staff, including three seasons as an assistant coach and one campaign as head coach. Sciba is a 2007 graduate of the University of Notre Dame where he spent four seasons (2003-07) as a member of the Fighting Irish men's hockey program.
Decker will be making her debut as a member of the coaching staff for the U.S. Under-18 Women's National Team, having recently helped the 2018 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team to a gold medal at the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games in February. Decker has previous coaching experience with USA Hockey having served as a coach at various Central District camps since 2012 and during USA Hockey Girls Under-18 Select Player Development Camps. Additionally, Decker has served as an assistant coach with the Madison Capitals and at various other camps since graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 2014. A two-time Olympian (2018-gold, 2014-silver), five-time International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship gold medalist (2013-17, 2011) and two-time Bob Allen Women's Player of the Year Award recipient (2017, 2015), Decker will focus on player mentoring and development as coach while remaining an active player in the USA Hockey women's program.
NOTES: Approximately 30 players will be invited to the USA Hockey Women's National Festival Aug. 6-13, in Lake Placid, New York. The camp will culminate with the selection of a 22-player roster that will represent the U.S. in a three-game series against Canada from Aug. 14-19 in Calgary, Alberta ... The IIHF Under-18 Women's World Championship is scheduled to be played for the 12th time and will include teams from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. The dates and location of the tournament will be announced in the near future. Team USA, the four-time reigning world champion, captured gold in each of the first two years of the tournament (2008, 2009) and again in 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The team has taken home the silver medal in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 ... Reagan Carey (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey's director of women's hockey, is the general manager of the 2018-19 U.S. Under-18 Women's National Team.