Providence head coach returns to U.S. bench after winning gold medal in 2021
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Nate Leaman (East Greenwich, Rhode Island/Providence College), who led the U.S. to the gold medal at the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Edmonton, Alberta, has been named head coach of the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team, it was announced by USA Hockey.
The U.S. National Junior Team will take part in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2021 – Jan. 5, 2022, in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. Team USA is seeking its sixth medal in seven years, and first-ever back-to-back gold medals at the event.
“We’re very excited to have Nate back leading our National Junior Team,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey and also the general manager of the 2022 U.S. National Junior Team. “The championship pedigree Nate brings to the bench, and the consistency some of our returning players will have from last year’s event, will be an advantage for our team heading into this year’s tournament.”
Leaman has been a part of three previous U.S. National Junior Team coaching staffs, including his first stint as head coach in 2021, winning Team USA’s fifth gold medal in tournament history. He also served as an assistant coach for the bronze medal-winning 2007 squad that competed in Leksand and Mora, Sweden. Additionally, he served as an assistant coach for the 2009 team that played in Ottawa, Ontario. Leaman made his USA Hockey coaching debut as an assistant coach in 2005 at the IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship, where the U.S. won gold in Ceske Budejorke and Plzen, Czech Republic.
“It’s always an honor to be asked to coach for my country and I’m grateful to be back behind the bench,” said Leaman. “I’m excited to see some familiar faces, and coach some of America’s best young talent, as we look to build another championship roster.”
The 2020-21 campaign is Leaman’s tenth as head coach at Providence, where he has led the Friars to NCAA tournament berths in six of the past eight campaigns, including the school’s first-ever NCAA title in 2015. During his tenure, Leaman has coached 27 NHL draft picks in addition to six undrafted players currently under NHL contracts. He has also coached four players selected to play for the U.S. National Junior Team, including Jon Gillies (2013, 2014), Erik Foley (2017), Parker Ford (2020) and Brett Berard (2021). Gillies, Foley and Berard were all part of gold medal-winning teams.
Prior to Providence, Leaman spent eight seasons (2003-11) at the helm of the Union College men’s ice hockey team where he led the school to its first ECAC regular-season championship and NCAA Division I tournament appearance in 2010-11, a year that marked the program’s fourth consecutive winning campaign and a then school-best 26 wins. Leaman departed Union with 138 wins, which at the time marked the most in Dutchmen history.
Leaman was awarded the Spencer Penrose Award as the top coach in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey in 2011, and has also been a finalist for the honor four other times (2019, 2016, 2015, 2010). Leaman was honored as the Hockey East Coach of the Year in 2016, and was named ECAC Coach of the Year in both 2011 and 2010.
Born and raised in Centerville, Ohio, Leaman captained the SUNY Cortland men’s ice hockey team his junior and senior years, finishing as one of the top-20 scorers in school history. He was inducted into the Red Dragons Hall of Fame in 2014.
NOTES: Leaman will be the first head coach since Bob Motzko (2017-18) to guide the U.S. in back-to-back IIHF World Junior Championships … The United States enters the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship seeking its sixth medal in seven years after earning its fifth gold medal in 2021 … To date, the U.S. has claimed 13 medals in the IIHF World Junior Championship, including five gold (2021, 2017, 2013, 2010, 2004), two silvers (2019, 1997) and six bronze (2018, 2016, 2011, 2007, 1992, 1986)