COLORADO SPRINGS, United States – USA Hockey announced on Thursday that Ron Rolston will serve as head coach of the U.S. national team at the 2009 IIHF World U20 Championship from December 26, 2008, to January 5, 2009, in Ottawa.
"We're extremely pleased to have Ron Rolston lead our team in," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "He's done an excellent job as a head coach at our National Team Development Program and is clearly the right person to coach our team in Ottawa."
Rolston led the Under-20 team to the bronze medal at the 2007 World U20 Championship in Sweden. He also served as an assistant coach at the 2003 World U20 Championship in Canada. Rolston was also successful with the Under-18 team, winning the gold medal at the 2005 IIHF World U18 Championship and silver in 2007.
"Ron is an exceptional coach," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. "He is very much in tune with both the talent pool in our country and what it takes to be successful in international competition."
Prior to his tenure with USA Hockey's program, Rolston served as an assistant men's ice hockey coach at Boston College (2002-04), Harvard University (1999-2002) and Clarkson University (1996-99). He also spent five years at Lake Superior State, four as assistant coach (1990-94) and one as associate head coach (1995). While at Lake Superior State, Rolston helped the Lakers capture NCAA titles in 1992 and 1994. He played college hockey at Michigan Tech University.
Joining Rolston behind the bench will be assistant coaches, Nate Leaman and P.K. O'Handley, and goalie coach Jeff Blashill.
Leaman, an assistant coach of the bronze medal-winning 2007 U20 team, is the head coach of the Union College men's ice hockey team of ECAC Hockey. He recently completed his fifth season behind the bench at Union. Leaman, with 72 victories, is the winningest head coach in Union's Division I history. He also served as an assistant coach at the 2005 World U18 Championship.
O'Handley, the head coach of the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL, will join the Under-20 national team staff for the first time. In 2007-08, his sixth season as coach of the Black Hawks, he guided the squad to the Clark Cup Finals. In 2003, O'Handley was named the U.S. Olympic Committee Developmental Coach of the Year.
Blashill was recently named head coach and general manager of the USHL's Indiana Ice. He spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach with the Miami (Ohio) University men's ice hockey team of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Blashill worked extensively with the team's goaltenders and served as Miami's recruiting coordinator. Prior to his time at Miami, Blashill was an assistant at his alma mater, Ferris State University, also of the CCHA.
Rolston will lead the 2008 National Junior Evaluation Camp August 1-9 in Lake Placid as a part of the selection process for the World U20 Championship. The final roster will be announced in early December 2008.