After a few seasons away from the spotlight, Ron Wilson will return to the bench to coach the United States World Junior team at the event this winter in Finland.
The announcement was made by USA General Manager Jim Johannson in a media call on Thursday morning.
Wilson is no stranger to coaching the Americans at international events. After leading the team to their first World Championship medal in 34 years back in 1996, Wilson was the main man for the gold medal champions at the World Cup of Hockey later that same year. Most recently, Wilson was a coach at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, with his squad eventually dropping an overtime decision in the gold medal game against Canada.
Wilson admitted that the tournament will take some time for him to get up to date with everything.
“I have no idea who some of these players are,” Wilson said in regards to the upcoming American candidates. “I’m going to travel around and see players (with their various teams).”
Over in the NHL, Wilson’s tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs, his last NHL squad, was highly criticized due to a lack of positive results and, in some cases, poor treatment of younger players. In 2012, he was fired by the Maple Leafs after just over three seasons on top of the bench, failing to reach the post-season during his time with the team.
Wilson has yet to win the Stanley Cup as a coach in the NHL, but his 648 wins ranks eighth all-time in NHL coaching victories. When the World Juniors head to Helsinki, Finland this December, Wilson will likely have some major offensive threats to work with, with the likes of Auston Matthews, Max Jones, Sonny Milano, Dylan Larkin, Connor Garland and Matthew Tkachuk all expected to play pivotal roles when the tournament heads back to Europe. The Americans have struggled in the two years since last winning the championship, finishing fifth in back to back years.
Johannson said he plans on naming the assistant coaches later this month, around the same time that the World Junior summer camp roster is announced.
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