So this is kinda weird, since I'm used to "Sieve"-ing Mike Ayers during my college years ... but a hearty congratulations is in order to the Boston College assistant coach. Ayers was named an assistant coach of the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team according to an announcement made by USA Hockey. Ayers, along with Don Granato (U.S. National Team Development Program) and Kevin Patrick (Vermont) will serve as assistants coaches under head coach Mark Osiecki, former Ohio State head coach.
Mike Ayers, former NTDP goalie coach (2011-13) and current assistant coach at Boston College, was also named as an assistant coach of the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team. This will be his first U.S. National Junior Team coaching experience.
The Hingham, Mass., native was Team USA's goaltending coach at the 2012 and 2013 IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championships. Team USA won gold in 2012 and silver in 2013. In addition to his duties at the NTDP, Ayers also oversaw the Warren Strelow National Goaltending Camp for three years while with USA Hockey.
At the college level, Ayers was the goalie coach for St. Cloud State University's men's ice hockey team from 2009-11. He also was the goalie coach for the AHL's Iowa Chops from 2008-09.
Previous to his coaching career, Ayers was a standout goalie at the University of New Hampshire and received the 2003 USA Hockey College Player of the Year award.
The U.S. National Junior Team will compete in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship from December 26, 2014 to January 5, 2015 in Montreal and Toronto, Canada. Team USA will play its preliminary-round games in Montreal. Quarterfinals will be split between Montreal and Toronto, while the semifinals, medal games and relegation games will be played in Toronto.
The Americans are seeking their fourth medal in six years, though are coming off a disappointing 2014 tournament in which the U.S. got bounced in the quarterfinal round by Russia, 5-3. The United States captured gold in 2010 and 2013 and bronze in 2011.
Ayers is the second member of the Boston College coaching staff selected to coach the U.S. junior squad in as many years. Last year, Boston College associate head coach Greg Brown served as an assistant for the 2014 U.S. National Junior team.
The American roster for next year's IIHF World Juniors hasn't been announced yet, but chances are good that several current Eagles, including goalie Thatcher Demko, will join Ayers in Canada. It's also not known what impact the World Juniors will have on Boston College's 2014-15 campaign since next year's schedule hasn't been released yet. But it's a safe bet that Coach York will be without the services of Coach Ayes and possibly several key contributors over the winter break.
Congratulations, Coach Ayers!