The IIHF World Championship will begin in less than two weeks and the U.S. team now has a head coach. National team GM Chris Drury announced today that Jack Capuano will lead the squad, with Nate Leaman and Adam Nightingale serving as assistants. Kevin Reiter will be the goaltending coach and Mike King the video coach for the event, which opens May 21 in Riga, Latvia.
Drury released a short statement:
We’re extremely fortunate to have an outstanding coaching staff, led by Jack Capuano. Their involvement with USA Hockey in various ways over the course of time and combined international experience will be of great benefit as we head into the tournament.
The choice of coach had a little more intrigued tied to it this year because Drury was only just named the president and GM of the New York Rangers. Current Rangers head coach David Quinn has two years left on his contract, but there has been a near-constant call for his firing by many fans as the team missed the playoffs this season. It’s not clear if Drury would consider any of the names announced today, but it does give them another chance to work closely together.
Capuano, 54, has been working as an associate coach with the Ottawa Senators the last two seasons and has experience with Team USA from the 2017 World Championship and World Cup. He served as head coach with the New York Islanders for several seasons between 2011-2016 but has yet to get another chance to lead at that level. The tournament will serve as a nice resume point for Capuano.
Leaman meanwhile is one of the most intriguing coaching prospects in the game right now, serving as head coach at Providence College the last decade and taking the U.S. World Juniors to gold this year. If he ever wanted to leave college hockey there is no doubt a job would be waiting for him at the NHL level, but to this point he has no experience at that level.