USA Hockey announced that Toronto Maple Leafs’ Head Coach Ron Wilson will be the head coach of Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Read the official press release from USA Hockey here.
Wilson will have a chance to evaluate who he likes for the Olympic team this summer when he will also coach Team USA at the World Championships, where the United States has not medaled since 2004 when they won a bronze medal. However Wilson brings some serious international experience as a coach to the table.
His most notable international achievement was leading the United States to the gold medal in the World Cup of Hockey in 1996. His last coaching duties with Team USA was in the World Cup of Hockey in 2004 where the USA lost in the semi-finals.
Wilson will attempt to bring Team USA back to the podium at the Olympics after a very disappointing 8th place finish at the Olympic games back in 2006. Team USA has not won gold at the Olympic games since 1980 when Herb Brooks and the Miracle on Ice team defeated Finland in the gold medal game, after upsetting the USSR in the semi-finals.
I personally think that Wilson is a good coach for this job. There are a couple of American coaches out there who would do well in assisting Wilson in leading Team USA. John Tortorella of the New York Rangers, Mike Sullivan of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and former Carolina Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette would all do well in helping out Ron Wilson try to bring Team USA back to respectability in international competition.
Despite powerhouse teams such as Sweden, Canada, and Russia boasting many big names in their lineups, Team USA will have the talent to compete with these teams. The hard part is for Wilson and his staff to get the United States to play as well together and be just as competitive as the powerhouses of the ice hockey world.