In preparation for the 2011 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, New York that start this December, USA Hockey named the man who will have a tough act to follow.
Keith Allain (Worcester, Mass.), one of the most experienced and successful coaches in the United States, was today named the head coach of the 2011 U.S. National Junior Team. The appointment marks Allain’s third stint as head coach of a U.S. National Junior Team, having taken on the role in 2001 and 2002.
Joining Allain on the coaching staff will be assistant coaches Mark Osiecki, Phil Housley and Joe Exter. Osiecki and Exter will be serving as assistant coaches for the U.S. National Junior Team for the second straight year, while Housley returns to the staff of a U.S. National Junior Team after serving as an assistant for the first time in 2008.
Allain has his hands full in having to follow up the tremendous work coach Dean Blais did with last year’s World Junior Championship team that won the gold medal over Canada. The United States won gold thanks to a no-look overtime goal by current Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson. One difference in the tournament this time around is that the United States will be hosting the tournament in Buffalo.
Allain is the man responsible for turning around the Yale hockey program the last few years. He’s brought the Bulldogs to the NCAA tournament the last two years, winning the ECAC two years ago and finishing as the top team in the conference this past season. Yale was a game away from reaching the Frozen Four this year but lost to eventual National Champion Boston College in the Northeast Regional final 10-7. Expect Allain to have better goaltending and defense for the World Junior Championships as he’ll have last year’s hero Jack Campbell in goal once again as well as soon-to-be first round pick Cam Fowler along the blue line.
The World Junior Championships run from December 26, 2010 until January 5, 2011.