Mike Eaves Named U.S. National Coach

Mike Eaves has been named head coach of the U.S. national team for the World Junior Championships later this year.

USA Hockey announced Friday that Wisconsin men's ice hockey head coach Mike Eaves will serve as head coach for the United States of America at the 2004 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship in Helsinki and Hameenlinna, Finland. Wisconsin assistant coach John Hynes will also serve as a team assistant coach. The tournament runs Dec. 25, 2003 to Jan. 4, 2004.

"It is an honor to be asked to represent our country and the University of Wisconsin at the World Junior Championship," Eaves said. "I look forward to coming back and sharing the experiences with our players."

The former U.S. National Team Development Program head coach, Eaves directed the 2002 U.S. Under-18 National Team to a gold medal at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Piestany, Slovakia. The first USA Hockey coach to be named the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Developmental Coach of the Year in 2002, Eaves will make his first head coaching appearance at the under-20 tournament.

The announcement was made by USA Hockey President Walter L. Bush, Jr.; USA Hockey Vice President & International Council Chairperson Ron DeGregorio; USA Hockey Executive Director Doug Palazzari; and USA Hockey Senior Director, International Administration Art Berglund.

"We are thrilled to welcome Mike Eaves back into the USA Hockey fold as head coach of the 2004 U.S. National Junior Team," said Palazzari. "His track record within the organization and international competition is outstanding, along with that of assistant coaches Moe Mantha and John Hynes. We anticipate the United States will be represented with a high degree of excellence both on and off the ice in Finland."

"It's a great honor for Mike and John to get the opportunity to represent our country and participate in a truly significant world-wide competition," said Wisconsin Director of Athletics Pat Richter. "USA Hockey recognizes the coaching talents of Mike and has given him one of the organization's elite assignments. The professional growth for Mike and John and the recognition received from coaching at the World Junior Championships will be extremely beneficial over the long term. Our department is proud and supportive of its staff that have distinguished themselves to the point of receiving opportunities of this nature."

Entering their second seasons behind the Wisconsin bench this fall, Eaves and Hynes may miss up to four Wisconsin contests during the season due to the 2004 World Junior Championship. The Wisconsin men's hockey schedule has not yet been released. Assistant coach Troy Ward will run the team during Eaves' absence.

Eaves is in good company * joining Boston University's Jack Parker (1996), former Lake Superior State Coach Jeff Jackson (1995) and Yale's Tim Taylor (2001) * as a college coach that received a coaching opportunity with the junior national team.

Former Wisconsin men's hockey head coach Jeff Sauer, who was an assistant coach for the U.S. at the 2003 World Junior Championships in Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia, had extensive international experience during his tenure with the Badgers. His experiences include serving as head coach of the U.S. national team at the 1995 World Championship, assistant coach at the 1992 World Championship, head coach of Team USA at the 1990 Goodwill Games and assistant coach for the U.S. national team at the 1985 World Championships, among others.

In 27 years of the World Junior Championship, the United States has won three medals. The 1997 entry had the country's highest finish when it claimed the silver medal. The U.S. also won bronze medals in 1992 and 1986.

Eaves and the rest of the coaching and support staff will conduct the U.S. National Junior Team Evaluation Camp on Aug. 2-10 at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. As many as 11 of the original players named to the 2003 U.S. National Junior Team could return. (Boston College forward Patrick Eaves was initially named to the roster last year but could not play due to injury.) Team USA posted a 4-3-0 record and finished in fourth place at the 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship in Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Also named to Eaves' staff are Team Leader Jim Johannson, a former Wisconsin winger, and Director, Player Personnel Lew Mongelluzzo.

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