One of the “Crown Jewels” of coaching amateur hockey is to be named the head coach of the US National World Junior team. This week, SCSU head coach Bob Motzko was bestowed with that honor being named to skipper the 2017 team that will compete in Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario from 12/26/16 to 1/5/17. The games will be venued at the Bell Centre in Montreal ( capacity 21,287) and Air Canada Centre in Toronto (capacity 19,746). This will be the 41st installment of the WJHC and the 12th time that Canada has hosted the tourney. The tournament will feature 31 games between 10 nations.
Although this is the first head coaching assignment for Motzko for USA Hockey he is not a stranger to this tourney having worked as an assistant to Don Lucia in the 2014 championship in Malmo, Sweden. And, that was one of the reasons for his selection this year. Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations indicated that “Bob Motzko is a guy we’ve talked about before. He had experience as an assistant coach and we felt Bob was a guy that would fit into this type of team and the environment in Toronto and Montreal. It’ll be a high energy team that plays exciting, attacking hockey. At St. Cloud, they play an attacking style – he lets offensive players be what they are – yet, understands game management”.
On his choice as coach, clearly Motzko was excited with the challenge. “I’m excited about the opportunity and very proud and honored they looked in my direction. It was really exciting to get asked to have this opportunity and now you get excited for the process to put the team together. This is the Crown Jewel and the team people would like to get their hands on. We will play fast, responsible, aggressive and attack option hockey. We look forward to finding the players to fit that.”
Motzko just completed a record setting season for the St. Cloud State University Huskies winning the NCHC Frozen Faceoff tournament, advancing to the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year and tying the school record for wins in a season at 31. He’s compiled seven 20 win seasons as coach of SCSU and was named 2014 NCHC Coach of the year and WCHA Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2007.