Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mark Carlson named USA's WJAC's coach

Press Release

USA Hockey announced that Mark Carlson, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders head coach and general manager, has been named the head coach of the 2009 U.S. Junior Select Team that will compete at the World Junior A Challenge November 1-8 in Summerside, P.E.I. Jeff Blashill, Indiana Ice head coach and general manager, along with Andy Jones, Sioux Falls Stampede assistant coach, were named assistant coaches for the U.S. Select Team.

Carlson is currently in his 11th USHL season and has been the coach of the RoughRiders since the team moved to Cedar Rapids prior to the 1999-2000 season. He has led the team to nine consecutive winning seasons and nine consecutive appearances in the Clark Cup playoffs. Last season, Carlson earned his 300th coaching victory in the USHL and was named United States Olympic Committee Development Coach of the Year. Carlson is currently fourth among active USHL coaches in both wins (330) and winning percentage (.595). More than 100 players have earned NCAA Division I scholarships while playing under Carlson in addition to 14 players that have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft and four that have played in the NHL.

It is the second consecutive year that Carlson will guide the U.S. Junior Select Team after leading a squad made up entirely of USHL players to the tournament championship in 2008.

Blashill is in his second USHL season after leading the Indiana Ice to the first Clark Cup title in team history during the 2008-09 campaign. The Ice equaled a team record with 39 regular season wins, tying them for the League's highest win total with the Green Bay Gamblers. Prior to arriving in Indiana, Blashill served as assistant coach for the Miami University RedHawks for six seasons, helping the program to an 83-31-9 record during that span and to three consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament (2006-08).

USA Hockey has called upon Blashill before, as he was the goaltending coach for the 2009 U.S. Junior National Team that competed at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Ottawa.

Jones is in his fourth season with the Sioux Falls Stampede after joining the team in 2006. In 2006-07, he helped the Stampede capture the first Clark Cup title in Club history.

Before coming to Sioux Falls, Jones was an assistant coach for five seasons (2000-05) at his alma mater, Amherst College. As a player, he helped Amherst to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 1999. Jones captained the 1999-2000 Jeffs squad in his senior year, leading the team to an 18-5-3 record.

Also joining the staff for the 2009 World Junior A Challenge is Darrin Flinchem, director of team services for the Indiana Ice, who will serve as equipment manager for the U.S. team.

"We're proud to have our coaches and staff lead Team USA at the Challenge for the third consecutive year, said Skip Prince, USHL Commissioner. "It provides a unique opportunity to expose our exceptional brand of hockey to the international community. Congratulations to Mark, Jeff, Andy and Darrin – they represent the best of the USHL, and the quality of the USA Hockey development model."

The World Junior A Challenge is in its fourth year. The 2009 event will feature Belarus, Canada East, Canada West, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. A roster for the U.S. Junior Select Team will be announced by USA Hockey next week.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

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