Mike Sullivan has earned another feather for his head coaching cap. Sullivan is set to be named head coach of the United States men’s national ice hockey team, according to NHL insider Frank Seravalli:
The Massachusetts native led his NHL squad through another injury-riddled campaign. In doing so, he helped the Penguins capture their first division championship since the 2013-14 season, posting a 37-16-3 record when all was said and done.
Sullivan had previously been affiliated with Team USA in an assistant coaching capacity, most recently during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. He is no stranger to Team USA, either. His official bio states the following:
The Marshfield, Massachusetts, native has served on the staff for multiple national teams, including as an assistant coach for the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team at the Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy. In addition, he was the head coach of the 2007 U.S. Men’s National Team at the International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship in Moscow and Mytischi, Russia, and an assistant coach for the 2008 U.S. Men’s National Team at the IIHF Men’s World Championship in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
Sullivan was also an advance scout for the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team.
As a player, Sullivan represented the U.S. on two occasions—once as a member of the 1988 U.S. National Junior Team and also as a member of the 1997 U.S. Men’s National Team.
We’ll see what American players will join Sullivan, but one has to think that fellow Penguins player, and Minnesotan, Jake Guentzel, will be a member of the American roster.
Pittsburgh Penguins coaches are no stranger to the Olympic spotlight. Dan Bylsma was selected as the head coach for Team USA during the 2014 Olympic Games, but the U.S. men’s team left Sochi with nothing to show for their efforts, losing the Bronze medal game to Finland 5-0.
As for now, there has been no official announcement from the league, the IOC, or the NHLPA about Olympic participation, but if the NHL heads to China next year, Team USA looks to be in another favorable position to fight for a medal.