Danton Cole spent the 2015-16 season, his sixth with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, as head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 Team. Previously Cole has guided Team USA to two gold medals (2012, 2014) at the International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s Under-18 World Championship and three top-three finishes at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (2011, 2013, 2014), the top events in each age group.
Additionally, Cole’s squads have found success in numerous international tournaments, having secured U17 titles at the Four Nations (2010, 2012) and Vlad Dzurilla (2011) tournaments. While leading the U18s, the U.S. has placed first three times in major competitions: twice at the Four/Five Nations (2011, 2015) held annually in November and once at the Five Nations (2014) tournament held annually in February.
The Pontiac, Michigan, native’s first taste of international coaching came with the U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, where he served as assistant coach. He would assume that same role in 2013 for the bronze-medal winning U.S. Men’s National Team at the IIHF Men’s World Championship. Cole also worked behind the bench as assistant coach for Team USA at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.
A four-year standout at Michigan State University, Cole helped the Spartans claim the 1986 NCAA Division I national championship. Over his collegiate career with Michigan State, Cole was recognized with the 1989 Big Ten Medal of Honor and was recognized three times as a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association All-Academic Team. For his efforts, Cole was honored with the 2012-13 Distinguished Spartan Award.
Cole was a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team three times (1990, 1991, 1994) and earned outstanding player of the 1991 IIHF Men’s World Championship. A seven-year NHL veteran who skated with five teams (Winnipeg, New Jersey, Tampa Bay, New York Islanders, Chicago) over his career, the forward earned a Stanley Cup with the Devils in 1995.