Blais Picked to Lead World Junior Team Again
CHN Staff Report
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais has been 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. He led Team USA to the gold medal at the 2010 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 men's gold medal at any level on Canadian soil (not including the 1996 World Cup). He was also an assistant coach on the 1988 and 1989 U.S. National Junior Teams.