Former New York Rangers coach David Quinn was elevated to U.S. Olympic head coach, replacing Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan after the NHL withdrew from Olympic participation.
The move was expected. Quinn was the lone member of the original Olympic coaching staff who has NHL or USA Hockey coaching experience and is not currently on an NHL coaching staff.
“To be named the head coach under these circumstances is bittersweet in some ways,” Quinn said. “I’ve never been more excited about an opportunity,”
Sullivan was named U.S. Olympic head coach in July but gave up the role after the NHL withdrew from the Olympics last week due to COVID-19 disrupting its season.
Quinn was originally named an Olympic assistant coach in September, along with Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes, Penguins assistant Todd Reirden and longtime NHL goalie Ryan Miller, who retired earlier this year. Quinn’s staff is to be announced.
Quinn was Rangers head coach from 2018 until last May, when he was fired after the team missed the playoffs. He also was an assistant for the U.S. at the world championship in 2007, 2012 and 2016.
In 2018, University of Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato coached the U.S. to a quarterfinal exit in PyeongChang. Beijing will be the second consecutive Olympics without active NHL players.
The U.S. roster, to be made up of players in U.S. minor leagues, European leagues and the NCAA, like in 2018, is slated to be announced in mid-January. USA Hockey officials have worked on contingency non-NHL roster plans for months, dating to when the NHL committed to participation last year.
Quinn, who also coached Boston University from 2013-18, said he’s familiar with most of the professional players that have been discussed, but not so much their recent play.
John Vanbiesbrouck, who on Monday was announced as the new GM, noted NCAA players made “a big impact” on the 2018 U.S. Olympic team. Harvard’s Ryan Donato led that team in goals. The University of Denver’s Troy Terry led the team in assists. Both are now in the NHL.
Any college players who accept an invitation for this Olympic team will, like four years ago, miss part of the NCAA season.
“Stepping up to play for your country in the Olympics is a great opportunity, and we believe that they’re going to see it that way,” Vanbiesbrouck said. “We know they’ll be missing some games, but this is a chance to step up for your country.”
Vanbiesbrouck replaced Bill Guerin, whose departure was also expected as he is GM of the Minnesota Wild. Vanbiesbrouck, a retired All-Star goalie who played on the 1998 Olympic team with Guerin, is an assistant executive director of hockey operations with USA Hockey.
Guerin was named GM on Dec. 14, replacing Stan Bowman, who resigned in October after an investigation into sexual assault allegations in 2010 with the Chicago Blackhawks revealed he knew about the situation and did not report it to authorities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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