Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier announced today that Ron Rolston has been named head coach of the Rochester Americans, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Sabres.
Rolston becomes the 29th head coach in Amerks franchise history.
“We are very excited for Ron to join the organization as head coach of the Amerks,” said Regier. “He has achieved tremendous success with USA Hockey’s development program and he fits our vision for how we want to develop players at the American Hockey League level. Ron is a proven winner and a terrific teacher and we look forward to having him lead the Amerks going forward.”
“I am both excited and honored to join an organization with as storied a tradition as the Rochester Americans,” Rolston said. “The opportunity to work within the Sabres organization, and to develop players at the game’s highest level, is an opportunity that I am committed to and embrace.”
Rolston joins the organization after spending the previous seven seasons as a head coach with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP), where he led the U.S. Under-18 team to three gold medals and a silver medal in four stints as head coach at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-18 Championship, including the 2011 tournament in Germany.
During the 2010-11 season, Rolston also led Team USA to titles in the 2011 Five Nations Tournament and in the 2010 Four Nations Cup. In addition, Rolston's U.S. National Under-18 Team posted a 12-9-1-2 (W-L-OTL-SOL) record in United States Hockey League play in 2010-11, helping the NTDP reach the USHL postseason for the first time. In June, he received the 2011 Bob Johnson Award from USA Hockey, which recognizes excellence in international competition during a season.
The longest-tenured and most decorated head coach in NTDP history, Rolston guided his teams to five medals and multiple tournament championships in international competition. He is the only coach in U.S. history to win three gold medals in the Under-18 World Championship (2005, 2009, 2011). His team also captured a silver medal in the 2007 Under-18 World Championship. Rolston’s teams never missed a championship game in either of the two major NTDP tournaments – the IIHF World Under-18 Championship and the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The 44-year-old Rolston joined USA Hockey after serving as an assistant coach at four different NCAA Division I hockey programs between 1990 and 2004, winning national championships in 1992 and 1994 with Lake Superior State University.
Rolston was an assistant coach at Boston College from 2002-04 and also served as the top assistant at Harvard University from 1999-2002 and as an assistant coach at Clarkson University (1996-99) and Lake Superior State University (1990-95).
In addition to winning two national titles at Lake Superior State, Rolston also helped guide the team to three straight appearances in the NCAA national championship game and four CCHA tournament titles in his five-year stint. He was elevated to associate head coach for the Lakers in 1994. Rolston’s younger brother, 16-year NHL veteran Brian Rolston, was a member of the 1992 and ’93 squads that Ron helped coach.
Rolston achieved success with the U.S. National Under-17 team during the 2009-10 campaign, by leading the squad to its first World Under-17 Hockey Challenge title since 2002. He had previously led the Under-17 Team to two second-place finishes (2006, 2008) at the tournament.
In 2008-09, Rolston led the U.S. National Under-18 Team to first-place finishes at both the 2008 Men’s Under-18 Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y., and 2009 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament in Sweden. Team USA finished with a 15-1-0-1 record against international opponents and a 13-13-1 mark against NCAA opponents. The 13 wins against college foes marked an all-time high for an Under-18 team in a single season.
In addition to coaching at the Under-18 and Under-17 levels, Rolston also served as head coach for the U.S. National Junior Team on two occasions. In 2007, he led Team USA to the bronze medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden. He was also behind the bench during the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ottawa.
A native of Fenton, Mich., Rolston attended Michigan Tech University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business management and was a three-year hockey letterman with the Huskies (1986-89), serving as an alternate captain during his senior season. Rolston was the co-recipient of the Norbert Matovich Memorial Award as Michigan Tech’s most outstanding freshman in 1986-87.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)