USA Hockey announced today that Waterloo Black Hawks Head Coach and General Manager P.K. O'Handley has been named the head coach of the U.S. Junior Select Team that will compete at the World Junior A Challenge in Penticton, British Columbia from November 8-14.
Joining O'Handley on the coaching staff will be Luke Strand, Head Coach and General Manager of the Sioux City Musketeers, and Justin Lyle, Associate Head Coach of the Indiana Ice.
It will be the second time that O'Handley will guide the U.S. Junior Select Team at the tournament as he was appointed the head coach for the team's first appearance in 2007. He is currently in his ninth season at the helm of the Waterloo Black Hawks, having posted 267-182-35 record and been behind the bench for five of the six 30-win seasons in team history. O'Handley led Waterloo to their first-ever Clark Cup in 2003-04 and Anderson Cup in 2006-07. He began his USHL coaching career with the North Iowa Huskies (1991-98). Last season, he earned his 400th career win in the League becoming just the fifth coach in USHL history to reach that mark.
The World Junior A Challenge will be O'Handley's fourth international coaching appearance. In addition to serving as the 2007 U.S. Junior Select Team head coach, O'Handley was the head coach for the U.S. Junior Select Team at the 2005 Viking Cup in Camrose, Alberta, leading the team to a third-place finish. Most recently, he served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Ottawa, Ontario.
Luke Strand is in his second season with the Sioux City Musketeers after guiding the team to a 27-24-9 record in 2009-10. Currently, the Musketeers are tied for first in the Western Conference standings. He has prior USHL experience as both a coach and player, serving as assistant coach for the Green Bay Gamblers for two seasons (2003-05) and playing two seasons for the North Iowa Huskies (1991-93) under head coach P.K. O'Handley.
Prior to coming to Sioux City, Strand was an assistant coach for the Houston Aeros in the American Hockey League for two seasons (2007-09).
Justin Lyle is in his third season with the Indiana Ice and was part of the staff that led the organization to its first-ever Clark Cup title during the 2008-09 season. He is no stranger to the USHL as he played two seasons for the Omaha Lancers (1993-95), capturing the Clark Cup in 1994. Lyle has also seen the League from the ice as an on-ice official, working as a linesman for five seasons in both the USHL and AHL.
The U.S. has won the championship at the World Junior A Challenge the past two years (2008, 2009) and garnered a third-place finish in 2007 with rosters made up almost entirely of USHL players. The 2010 event will also include teams from Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and two teams from Canada (East and West). A roster for the U.S. team will be announced at a later date.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)