The U.S. National Junior Team will take part in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2020 – Jan. 5, 2021, in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. Team USA is seeking its fifth medal in six years at the event.
“We’re extremely excited to have Nate leading our National Junior Team,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey and also the general manager of the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team. “He has a championship pedigree and is one of the top coaches in our country.”
Leaman has been a part of two previous U.S. National Junior Team coaching staffs, including as an assistant coach for the bronze medal-winning 2007 squad that competed in Leksand and Mora, Sweden. He also served as an assistant coach for the 2009 team that played in Ottawa, Ontario. Leaman made his USA Hockey coaching debut as an assistant coach in 2005 at the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, where the U.S. won gold in Ceske Budejovice and Plzen, Czech Republic.
“It’s obviously an honor to be asked and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Leaman. “Any time you have the chance to represent your country it’s a proud moment, particularly in a tournament like the World Juniors. I look forward to the challenge ahead. We have one goal in mind and that is to bring home a gold medal.”
The 2019-20 campaign is Leaman’s ninth as head coach at Providence, where his Friars have advanced to the Frozen Four on two occasions in the last five years. During his tenure at Providence, Leaman has coached 24 NHL Draft picks in addition to six undrafted players currently under NHL contract. He has also coached three players selected to play for the U.S. National Junior Team: Jon Gillies (2014, 2013), Erik Foley (2017), and Parker Ford (2020). Gillies and Foley were both part of gold-medal winning teams.
Prior to Providence, Leaman spent eight seasons (2003-11) at the helm of the Union College men’s ice hockey team where he led the school to its first ECAC regular-season championship and NCAA Division I Tournament appearance in 2010-11, a year that marked the program’s fourth consecutive winning campaign and a then school-best 26 wins. Leaman departed Union with 138 wins, which at the time marked the most in Dutchmen history.
Leaman was awarded the Spencer Penrose Award as the top coach in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey in 2011, and was also a finalist for the honor four other times (2019, 2016, 2015, 2010). Leaman was honored as the Hockey East Coach of the Year in 2016, and was named ECAC Coach of the Year in both 2011 and 2010.
Born and raised in Centerville, Ohio, Leaman captained the SUNY Cortland men’s ice hockey team his junior and senior years, finishing as one of the top-20 scorers in school history. He was inducted into the Red Dragons Hall of Fame in 2014.