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Granato Named Assistant Coach for U.S. in Upcoming Major Events

04/15/2014, 12:30pm EDT
By USA Hockey

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Don Granato, current head coach of the U.S. National Under-17 Team, will serve as an assistant coach for both the 2014 U.S. Men's National Team, led by Peter Laviolette, head coach of the 2010 U.S. Men's Olympic Team, and the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team, headed by Mark Osiecki, a three-time assistant coach for the U.S. National Junior Team.

Granato will serve as an assistant coach on his first U.S. Men's National Team and first U.S. National Junior Team. Granato is currently in his third season as a head coach for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. He directed the Under-17 Team to a 30-23-1 (W-L-OTL) overall record in 2013-14.

Previously, he led the U.S. National Under-18 Team to the silver medal at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's Under-18 World Championship.

During the 2012-13 campaign, in addition to earning a silver medal in Sochi, Granato helped the Under-18 Team capture first place in November at the Under-18 Four Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich. Additionally, Granato guided his team to an 11-6-4 (W-L-T) record against NCAA Division I and III schools, the best winning percentage (.619) against collegiate opponents in the history of the NTDP.

That season, Granato also served as assistant coach at the inaugural CCM / USA Hockey All-American Prospects game held in Buffalo, N.Y. on Sept. 29, 2012.

Granato's coaching resume with the NTDP includes first-place finishes at both the 2011 Under-17 Four Nations Tournament in Balishikha, Russia, and the 2012 Vlad Dzurilla Under-18 Tournament in Piestany, Slovakia. Team USA finished in second-place finish at the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ont, with Granato at the helm.

A native of Downers Grove, Ill., Granato also has coaching experience at the NHL, AHL, ECHL and USHL levels. Granato won an NCAA national title as a player at the University of Wisconsin, where he was a teammate of Osiecki from 1987-90.

Former NTDP Goalie Coach Tabbed for Juniors

Mike Ayers, former NTDP goalie coach (2011-13) and current assistant coach at Boston College, was also named as an assistant coach of the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team. This will be his first U.S. National Junior Team coaching experience.

The Hingham, Mass., native was Team USA's goaltending coach at the 2012 and 2013 IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championships. Team USA won gold in 2012 and silver in 2013. In addition to his duties at the NTDP, Ayers also oversaw the Warren Strelow National Goaltending Camp for three years while with USA Hockey.

At the college level, Ayers was the goalie coach for St. Cloud State University's men's ice hockey team from 2009-11. He also was the goalie coach for the AHL's Iowa Chops from 2008-09.

Previous to his coaching career, Ayers was a standout goalie at the University of New Hampshire and received the 2003 USA Hockey College Player of the Year award.

Ayers will join Granato along with Kevin Patrick as assistant coaches in 2015. Patrick recently completed his second season as assistant coach with the University of Vermont. Adam Nightingale was named video coordinator and has spent the last four seasons as director of operations and video coordinator for Michigan State University.

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