Keith Allain has coached the United States team at the World Junior Championship, but never before in these circumstances.
The Yale coach has been named the coach of the 2011 U.S. National Junior Team for the tournament that runs Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Buffalo, N.Y.
Allain led the U.S. in the 2001 and 2002 tournaments. Neither time, however, were the Americans defending champions or hosts — both of which are the case this time around.
“It is a great honor to be chosen to coach this team,” Allain said in a news release. “Every time you get to represent your country, it’s a terrific experience. The chance to do so in front of our home fans will make this occasion even more special.”
In his previous coaching stints, Allain guided the Americans to fifth-place finishes, going 5-2 in 2001 and 4-1-2 in 2002.
Allain has assisted on two U.S. Olympic teams (1992, 2006) and two national teams (2005, 2006) and was an assistant on the gold medal-winning 1996 U.S. team in the World Cup of Hockey and the goalie coach in 2004.
“Keith has a wealth of experience, including at the international level, and we’re really pleased that he’s agreed to lead our team in Buffalo,” U.S. team general manager Jim Johannson said. “He knows how to get the most out of players and has proven that at every level of hockey.”
Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki, Stillwater (Minn.) High School coach Phil Housley and USA Hockey National Team Development Program goalie coach Joe Exter will be assistant coaches.
Osiecki and Exter were assistants to Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais on the 2010 U.S. team that won the gold medal. Housley was an assistant in the 2008 tournament.
USA Hockey will hold an evaluation camp July 30-Aug. 7 in Lake Placid, N.Y., and the team will be selected in December.