U.S. women’s hockey team gets new head coach

John Wroblewski
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John Wroblewski, most recently an AHL coach, has been named head coach of the U.S. women’s hockey team for the world championship in August and September, succeeding Joel Johnson, who coached the team to silver at the Olympics in February.

USA Hockey did not provide a reason for Johnson’s departure, but in the past it has chosen national team coaches on a yearly basis. The last time an Olympic head coach remained head coach for the following world championship was 2004 (Ben Smith).

Johnson is the head women’s coach at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

Wroblewski, a 41-year-old former minor-league player, led the Ontario Reign of the AHL the last two seasons. In March, he and the club announced in a mutual decision that he would no longer be its head coach after he took a leave of absence in December.

Wroblewski was head coach of the U.S. men’s national team development program from 2016-20 and was head coach of the U.S. men’s U18 team at world championships in 2017 and 2019.

At worlds in Denmark, the U.S. will look to keep Canada from winning a third consecutive global title (Olympics or worlds) for the first time since 2001, 2002 and 2004. It will be the first women’s world championship held in a Winter Olympic year.

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Finland follows first Olympic hockey gold with world title; U.S. loses bronze game

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Finland followed its first Olympic hockey title by winning the men’s world championship at home, beating Canada 4-3 in overtime in Sunday’s final in Tampere.

Sakari Manninen scored the overtime winner after Canada potted two empty-net goals in the final 2 minutes, 12 seconds, of regulation to force OT. It was the third consecutive world championship final between Canada and Finland and second in a row that went to overtime.

Nashville Predators forward Mikael Granlund scored twice for Finland, which became the first nation to win the Olympics and men’s worlds in the same year since Sweden in 2006.

Captain Valtteri Filppula became the 30th member, and first Finn, in the men’s hockey Triple Gold Club, players to win Olympic, world championship and Stanley Cup titles in a career. The rest of the members are Canadians, Russians, Swedes and Czechs.

The Canadian team included NHL All-Stars Mathew Barzal and Thomas Chabot, plus 19-year-old Kent Johnson, the No. 5 overall pick in last year’s draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The NHL didn’t participate in a second straight Olympics, but NHL players on teams that aren’t left in the Stanley Cup playoffs do play at world championships.

Earlier, the Czech Republic beat the U.S. 8-4 in the bronze-medal game, a day after the U.S. had its 11th consecutive loss in a world championship semifinal.

The U.S. last finished better than third at a standalone worlds in 1950.

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U.S. men’s hockey team loses 11th consecutive world championship semifinal

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The U.S. men’s hockey team lost a world championship semifinal for an 11th consecutive time, again missing out on a first gold or silver finish since 1950.

Olympic champion Finland rallied from a 1-0 deficit to win 4-3 in Tampere, Finland, setting up a Sunday final against Canada, a 6-1 winner over the Czech Republic in the later semifinal. The Americans get the Czechs in the bronze-medal game.

The U.S. has lost all 11 of its semifinals at worlds since the IIHF reinstituted a bracketed playoff round in 1992. Its last silver medal at a standalone worlds was in 1950. Its last gold was in 1933.

Their Olympic medals in 1952 (silver), 1956 (silver) and 1960 (gold) also counted as world championship medals before the IIHF started differentiating the tournaments.

Nate Schmidt (Winnipeg Jets), Sean Farrell (Harvard) and Adam Gaudette (Ottawa Senators) scored for the Americans. The Boston Bruins’ Jeremy Swayman, who joined the team mid-tournament as an injury replacement, was in goal.

Finland got goals from Miro Heiskanen, Sakari Manninen, Sami Vatanen and Joel Armia.

While the NHL didn’t participate in the last two Olympics, rosters at the annual world championships include players from teams not still playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The U.S. roster, which has nobody over the age of 30, includes three Beijing Olympians: goalie Strauss Mann and forwards Ben Meyers and Farrell.

The most notable NHL veterans are four-time All-Star defenseman Seth Jones of the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes forward Alex Galchenyuk.

The head coach is David Quinn, who was also head coach of the Olympic team that lost in the quarterfinals to Slovakia.

ON HER TURF: Women’s pro hockey is about to have its moment

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