In a move that has been expected for several weeks, USA Hockey has made it official, announcing that Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan will be the head coach for the USA’s entry into next year’s Winter Olympics. This is assuming that an agreement is reached for NHL players to participate in the event.
Sullivan is no stranger to coaching at the international level as has served on the staff for multiple other national teams over the years. In 2006, he was an assistant for their Olympic team, he was the bench boss at the 2007 Worlds, and served as an assistant in that tournament the following year as well. There haven’t been many opportunities for him to coach internationally since then as his teams have spent a lot of time in the playoffs.
Sullivan has been behind the bench for Pittsburgh since December 12, 2015 with the Penguins winning 251 regular season games during that stretch, the third-most in the NHL. They’ve made the playoffs in each of his six seasons behind the bench, winning two Stanley Cups along the way in 2016 and 2017. He’ll now have a shot at adding an Olympic medal to that collection.
Meanwhile, USA Hockey also announced that Joel Johnson (who will be the head coach at next month’s World Championships) has been named head coach for the women’s entry into the Olympics while David Hoff will be heading up the sled hockey team at the Paralympics.
It’s a smart choice and well deserved for Sullivan.