Longtime USA Hockey staffer, coach Smith retiring from organization after 25-year career

Ben Smith (middle) led the U.S. to the first-ever gold medal in Olympic women’s hockey history in 1998 (photo: USA Hockey).

Ben Smith, who has been part of the USA Hockey staff for the past 25 years, including leading the U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team to the gold medal in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, is retiring from the organization after a decorated career.

“The sport of hockey has done so much for me and I’m grateful to have been part of the USA Hockey staff for the last 25 years of my career,” said Smith, a 2017 inductee into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. “It’s been rewarding to work with so many wonderful athletes and people, and while I’ll miss it, I will certainly be cheering on our teams in retirement and always be keeping up with what’s happening at USA Hockey.”

“Ben has had an enormously positive impact on our organization and the sport overall and we’re grateful for all he’s done,” added USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher. “We wish him and his wife, Julie, the very best in retirement.”

Smith was hired by USA Hockey in 1996 as the first full-time U.S. Women’s National Team head coach ahead of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, which were the first ever to include women’s ice hockey. He served in that capacity for a decade, compiling a 37-7 record in IIHF Women’s World Championship and Olympic competition during his tenure, a span that included two gold medals, six silver medals and one bronze medal.

Following his time as head coach of the women’s national team, he shifted gears and played an important role in player evaluation for USA Hockey in building numerous teams for competition on the world stage, predominantly the U.S. National Junior Team.

Prior to his time at USA Hockey, Smith, who played college hockey at Harvard, was a men’s college hockey coach with stops at UMass, Yale, Boston University, Dartmouth and Northeastern.

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