USA Hockey goes with Laviolette in ’06

Former Calder Cup champion and AHL coach of the year Peter Laviolette, currently the head coach of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, was named today by USA Hockey as the head coach of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team.

“We’re really pleased to have Peter guiding our Olympic Team,” said Don Waddell, general manager of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team in making the announcement. “Peter knows what it takes. He played on our 1988 Olympic team and came back as captain of the 1994 Olympic team. He’s coached our last two World Championship teams. He’s passionate about the game and we’re confident he’ll do an outstanding job as our head coach.”

Laviolette played six seasons in the AHL for the Binghamton Rangers and Providence Bruins, and was named captain of the World AHL All-Star Team in 1997. He moved behind the Providence bench in 1998-99 and led the Bruins to a remarkable 71 wins between the regular season and playoffs, culminating in the city’s first Calder Cup championship in 43 years. Laviolette won the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s coach of the year for his efforts.

After Providence’s title defense ended in overtime of Game 7 of the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals, Laviolette was promoted to assistant coach of the Boston Bruins. After one year in Beantown, he was named head coach of the New York Islanders. Laviolette guided the club to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2002 and 2003, its first two postseason appearances since 1994.

Laviolette was appointed head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 15, 2003.

Laviolette is a familiar face behind the bench for the United States in international play. He directed the U.S. entry at the 2005 World Championships this past May, and captured a bronze medal at the 2004 World Championships. Laviolette was also an assistant coach for Team USA’s entry into the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.