Sioux City Musketeers head coach Brett Larson has accepted a position as associate head coach of the men’s hockey program at Ohio State University.
Larson recently completed his second USHL season behind the bench in Sioux City and guided the Musketeers to a 23-30-11 record. After the team won just six of their first 37 games this season, the Musketeers were one of the hottest teams in the League down the stretch as Larson led them to a 17-9-1 record to complete the year.
“We're thrilled to have a member of our organization move up to the Ohio State program. That's why we're here, to move not only hockey players, but hockey staff on to bigger and better opportunities,” stated Sioux City Musketeers Owner and President, Lloyd Ney. “Brett is a first class person, the Buckeyes will be a better organization with him on board. It's a good move for all.”
Despite missing the playoffs, it was a season of progress for the young Musketeers squad. Forward Jake Guentzel was recently named the 2012-13 USHL Rookie of the Year after finishing sixth in League scoring and tying a USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present) record with a 21-game point streak. Goaltender Kyle Hayton won 12 of his last 14 starts, including eight straight to close out the year. Four players who suited up for the Musketeers this season were included in the NHL Central Scouting final rankings in advance of the 2013 NHL Draft. In addition to Guentzel, forward Avery Peterson and defensemen Blake Heinrich and Neal Pionk are on the list.
He also took a short break from USHL action in November to lead the United States at the World Junior A Challenge. The team made up of USHL players, including Musketeers players Dan Molenaar and Blake Heinrich, went undefeated at the tournament to capture the gold medal.
Larson came to the USHL last season after a successful collegiate coaching stint at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, his alma mater. He was on the coaching staff during the 2010-11 season when the school captured their first NCAA Championship.
In his first season behind the bench for the Musketeers, Larson led the team to a 29-30-1 record and a berth in the Clark Cup Playoffs. Following the season, defenseman Cliff Watson was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the 2012 NHL Draft.
Overall during his time in Sioux City, Larson coached more than 30 players that have earned NCAA Division I hockey opportunities. He leaves the USHL with a 52-60-12 record in two seasons.
Ohio State University will compete next season in the newly-formed Big Ten Conference. This season, a total of 14 USHL alumni were on the roster for the Buckeyes.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)