Northern Michigan’s Kyle Tapped to Coach U.S. National Juniors

Northern Michigan head coach Walt Kyle has been named head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team that will compete in the 2006 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. It will be Kyle’s sixth coaching assignment with USA Hockey and fourth with the U.S. National Junior Team.

Kyle will be assisted by John Hynes, who has spent the last two years as a coach with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. In 2004-05, Hynes served as head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team.

Additional coaching and support staff positions for the U.S. National Junior Team will be announced at a later date.

Walt Kyle

Walt Kyle

“Walt has had success with the national program and the National Junior Team in the past,” said Jim Johannson, USA Hockey’s senior director of hockey operations. “He brings knowledge, competitiveness and focus — all qualities that he will undoubtedly instill in his team.”

Kyle’s first appearance at the World Junior Championship came in 1991, when he served as an assistant coach under Kevin Constantine. The following year, Kyle accepted his first of two consecutive head coaching assignments, leading Team USA to a bronze medal at the 1992 World Junior Championship in Fussen and Kaufbeuren, Germany. In 1993, Kyle’s team finished fourth at the event in Gavle and Fulun, Sweden.

“It’s a great honor anytime you get the opportunity to represent your country in a game you love,” Kyle said. “The World Junior Championship is a great event with the best players in the world competing, and the team that goes in the most prepared and focused will ultimately succeed.”

Kyle also worked on the coaching staff at two IIHF Men’s World Championships. In 1994, he was an assistant to Ron Wilson as Team USA finished fourth in Milan, Italy. In 2001 he worked under Lou Vairo as Team USA earned a fourth-place finish at the World Championship in Cologne and Hannover, Germany.

Named the head coach at Northern Michigan in June of 2002, Kyle has taken the Wildcats to the CCHA Super Six in each of his three seasons. His head coaching record at Northern Michigan stands at 65-44-13.

Prior to coaching the Wildcats, Kyle spent two seasons (2000-02) as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers. He joined the Rangers from [nl]Hamilton of the American Hockey League, where he served as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers’ top affiliate for two seasons (1998-00). Kyle also spent two seasons with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1996-98), a span that included the Ducks’ run to the 1997 Western Conference semifinal.

Hynes returns to the World Junior Championship after serving as assistant coach of the gold medal-winning 2004 U.S. National Junior Team. Later that year, Hynes served as head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Team that won a silver medal at the World Under-18 Championship in Minsk, Belarus.

Hynes first worked with the NTDP in 1998, serving as a graduate assistant coach. In 2001, he served as an assistant coach with the U.S. National Under-18 Team. The following year, Hynes assisted head coach Mike Eaves at the 2002 IIHF World Under-18 Championship where the team became the first U.S. squad to win a non-Olympic A-Pool gold medal since 1933.

Hynes began his coaching career in 1997 at his alma mater, Boston University, serving under head coach Jack Parker. That season, Hynes helped guide the Terriers to the Hockey East regular-season title and a berth in the NCAA tournament.

The 2005-06 U.S. National Junior Team try-out camp will be held August 5-14 in Lake Placid, N.Y. The camp schedule and list of invitees will be announced in mid-June.