USA Hockey announced Wednesday that Holy Cross head coach Katie Lachapelle has been named head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team that will play in the 2021 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship anticipated to take place this coming January.
Joining her as assistant coaches will be Princeton assistant Melanie Ruzzi, Colgate assistant Chelsea Walkland and Brianna Decker, a Wisconsin graduate and member of the gold medal-winning 2018 U.S. Olympic women’s team.
In addition, Alli Altmann returns to the staff as goaltending coach.
“We’re extremely fortunate to have Katie leading our team this season,” said USA Hockey director of women’s national team programs Katie Million in a statement. “She brings significant experience, including in international hockey, and has played an important role in our overall women’s national team program for several years. We’re also thrilled to have Mel, Chelsea, Brianna and Alli part of the coaching staff.
“Overall, we have a great group that is focused on helping bring a gold medal back to our country at the world championship early next year.”
Lachapelle is serving as head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team for the first time, but has been an assistant coach for four straight seasons from 2013 to 2017. During that time, she helped lead the U.S. to three gold medals (2015-17) and one silver medal (2014) in the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship and also was part of the staff of the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that played in the U18 Series against Canada each season.
She has also served as an assistant coach of the U.S. Women’s National Under-22 Select Team both in 2018 and 2019 and has been a coach at numerous national and player development camps over the last decade.
“I’m extremely honored and grateful to serve as head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team,” said Lachapelle, who also played four years at Providence (1995-99). “I’m excited for the challenge ahead, and I look forward to working with the best young players in the country. Thank you to USA Hockey for this opportunity.”
Prior to joining the Crusaders coaching staff, Lachapelle was an assistant coach for nine seasons at Boston University (2008-17). She also spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio State (2004-08) and prior to that, was an assistant coach at Niagara (2001-04). Lachapelle began her collegiate coaching career as an assistant coach at Union for two seasons (1999-01).