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It's official, Torts to coach U.S. team

28

March

We knew it was coming but USA Hockey finally made it official, naming Lightning coach John Tortorella as coach of the United States team at the World Championships that begin May 2 in Halifax and Quebec. Lightning associate coach Mike Sullivan will have the same job with the U.S. team.

Like we said, a nice honor but it does mean you have the time since your team is out of the NHL playoffs.

Here is the release sent by USA Hockey:

COLORADO SPRINGS - John Tortorella has been named head coach of the 2008 U.S. Men’s National Team it was announced today by USA Hockey. The current head coach of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, Tortorella will lead Team USA in the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship May 2-18 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

“We’re certainly pleased to have someone with John Tortorella’s credentials coaching our world championship team,” said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations at USA Hockey. “He’s had a lot of success in his career, including winning the Stanley Cup, and knows what it takes to win at the highest level.”

Tortorella was chosen by USA Hockey’s National Team Advisory Group, which is led by Johannson and consists of National Hockey League general managers Brian Burke (Anaheim Ducks), David Poile (Nashville Predators), Ray Shero (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Don Waddell (Atlanta Thrashers).

Tortorella’s only other coaching stint with the U.S. program came when he served as associate coach of the 2005 U.S. Men’s National team that played in the IIHF World Championship in Innsbruck and Vienna, Austria.

“I’m honored to be selected,” said Tortorella, who earlier this season became the all-time winningest American-born coach in NHL history. “It truly is an honor to represent our country and I look forward to the opportunity.”

Tortorella is in his seventh full season as head coach of the Lightning after leading the team to four consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff appearances, its first Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup Championship and two Southeast Division Championships. Voted winner of the 2003-04 Jack Adams Award as the National Hockey League’s top coach after guiding the Lightning to the Stanley Cup, Tortorella’s championship team established franchise records with 46 wins and 106 points before embarking on the successful playoff campaign.

A 17-year National Hockey League coaching veteran, Tortorella became the fourth head coach in team history when he was named to that position on January 6, 2001. The Boston native joined the Lightning organization when he was hired as an associate coach prior to the 2000-01 season.

Tortorella began his playing career at Salem State College before transferring to the University of Maine. He spent three seasons with the Black Bears and was twice named an Eastern College Athletic Conference all star. After playing in Sweden, Tortorella played in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League with Virginia, Hampton Roads and Erie.He spent two seasons as the general manager and head coach of the Virginia Lancers (Atlantic Coast Hockey League) from 1986-87 to 1987-88, where he garnered Coach of the Year honors during both campaigns while leading his ‘86-87 team to the league championship.

Tortorella was hired as an assistant coach with the New Haven Nighthawks of the American Hockey League for the 1988-89 campaign. He became an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres the following season, and remained with the Sabres organization through the 1996-97 season. The Sabres named him the head coach of their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, prior to the 1995-96 season. His Rochester team won the Calder Cup in 1996 and followed that up with the best record in the AHL’s Northern Conference during the 1996-97 regular season.

Tortorella returned to the NHL in 1997 as an assistant with the Phoenix Coyotes, where he spent two seasons before joining the Rangers for 1999-2000. He served as the Rangers' interim head coach for the final four games of the '99-00 season before joining the Lightning staff.

Tortorella and his wife, Chris, reside in Valrico, with their two children, Brittany and Dominick.

NOTES: Tortorella is the winningest coach in Lightning history and also the winningest American-born coach in NHL history … The players for the 2008 U.S. Men’s National Team as well as additional staff members will be named in the coming weeks … Team USA will conduct a training camp from April 24-30 in Portland, Maine, including a pre-tournament game against Sweden on Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m. (EDT) at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Tickets for that game can be acquired by visiting www.theciviccenter.com.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:38pm]

    

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