Wildcat hockey coach Sean Hogan will trade in his UA gear for Team USA attire for a few weeks next season.
USA Hockey announced Wednesday that Hogan will be part of the coaching staff of the U.S. Men’s National University Team for the 2013 Winter World University Games in December.
“It’s a pretty cool opportunity,” Hogan said. “To get a chance to represent the United States in anything at all is a great honor. There was a lot of good coaches that were more capable of getting that job, I was just fortunate enough to get it.”
The 2013 Winter World University Games will be played Dec. 11-21 in Trentino, Italy. The Universiade, as it is sometimes called, is the second largest sporting event in the world after the Olympics.
Junior forward Andrew Murmes said Hogan’s selection will help the team get the Arizona hockey name out there.
“It’s definitely going to bring a lot of people to our program, which is huge, having our coach go to the World University Games,” Murmes said. “It’s an honor for him and we’re hugely proud of him. We’re really hoping that he does great up there.”
Former Penn State coach Scott Balboni will be the head coach for Team USA. Dan Phelps, head coach of the prestigous Adrian College program, will be the other assistant coach.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have Scott and [women’s coach] Mo [Stroemel] lead our teams,” Ashley Bevan, senior director of adult hockey at USA Hockey, said in a press release. “Together with the outstanding assistant coaches that will assist them, we’re excited about the staffs we have guiding our country in the Winter World University Games later this year.”
Balboni and Phelps were assistant coaches for Team USA in 2011, but this is Hogan’s first stint for the Stars and Stripes, though he applied a few times before.
“I’m really excited, obviously, about the opportunity to go to Italy and represent the United States with a great coaching staff. That’s going to be a good opportunity for me to learn a lot, get some international experience,” Hogan said.
He said there won’t be a long training camp. They will practice a few times in the United States, then play some exhibition games in Europe before the tournament, so he won’t miss a lot of Arizona’s season.
Hogan said a few Wildcats have a chance to make the team, which will be made up of ACHA players like Murmes.
“It would be absolutely awesome [to make the team],” Murmes said. “Coach has talked to me about how they are very interested in me and I would be honored if they pick me.”
The final roster is expected to be announced in November.
USA Hockey is at a high point. In the 2010 Olympics, the Americans lost to home nation Canada 3-2 in overtime in the gold medal game.
Then on Jan. 5, USA won gold in the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Russia, beating Sweden 3-1 and Canada 5-1 in the semifinals. The tournament was for players younger than 20 years old.
Murmes said they couldn’t really stay up to watch the early morning tournament because Arizona had games last week, but the Wildcats were excited to see “buddies” on the team do so well.
“USA hockey, they’re definitely on top right now,” Hogan said. “USA hockey is, in terms of producing top talent, right up there with the best in the world, and to be able to have that USA hockey across your chest is a big honor, so I’m really excited about it.”