Dec. 22, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale head coach Hilary Witt has been named an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2007 International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship, the most significant International competition in women's hockey other than the Olympics. Witt will be a part of head coach Mark Johnson's staff at the event, which runs from Apr. 3-10 in Winnipeg, Man., and features the top nine women's hockey programs in the world.
This is the tenth IIHF Women's World Championship, and the U.S. has won eight silver medals and one gold medal. The gold came in 2005 with Yale sophomore defenseman Helen Resor (Greenwich, Conn.) making her IIHF debut for Team USA. Yale freshman forward Denise Soesilo (Hamburg, Germany) played for Germany in the event. Canada has won eight gold medals and one silver medal at the event. The other countries participating this year are China, Finland, Kazakhstan, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland.
Witt made her international USA Hockey coaching debut as an assistant coach at the Four Nations Cup last November, when the U.S. finished with a silver medal. She is in her sixth season at Yale and fifth as head coach. The winningest coach in Yale history, Witt's 2004-05 squad set the school record for overall wins (16) and conference wins (12), and made an appearance in the ECAC semifinals for the first time. Further, she was the ECAC Women's Coach of the Year in 2002-03. In the last two years, Witt expanded her coaching experience to include USA Hockey Player Development Camps, coaching at the Girls' Select 17/18 and 14 levels.
As a player, Witt spent time with the U.S. Women's National Team during the 2000-01 season and played on the 2000 U.S. Women's Select Team at the Four Nations Cup. She is a 2001 graduate of Northeastern and a member of the Huskies' Hall of Fame. After leading the team in scoring in three of her four seasons, Witt finished her career as Northeastern's all-time leader in goals and points (113-94-207). She was a three-time finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division I women's ice hockey.
Witt is a native of Canton, Mass. and currently resides in Hamden, Conn.
Yale coaches have an extensive history of involvement with USA Hockey. Former Bulldog men's coach Tim Taylor (who coached at Yale from 1976 through 2006) served as head coach of the U.S. men's team at the 1994 Olympics and was an assistant coach in 1984. Current men's head coach Keith Allain, a 1980 Yale graduate, was an assistant coach with the U.S. men's team at the 2006 Olympics. Ben Smith, a former assistant men's coach at Yale under Taylor, served as head coach of the U.S. women's team from 1996 through the 2006 Olympics. Smith led the U.S. to a gold medal at the 1998 Nagano games, the first year women's hockey was a medal sport. He now serves as an advisor for the U.S. program.
Among the other Yale coaches associated with the U.S. women's team are Mike Gilligan (assistant men's coach at Yale under Taylor, assistant coach with the U.S. women from 2003-2006) and John Marchetti (assistant coach with the U.S. women in 1994, head women's coach at Yale from 1997-2002).
Johnson, the head women's hockey coach at reigning national champion Wisconsin and a member of the 1980 gold medal-winning U.S. men's team, will serve as Team USA's head coach. Erin Whitten Hamlen, associate head women's hockey coach at the University of New Hampshire, is the other assistant coach.
The U.S. roster for the event has not been finalized. The team is holding a training camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., Dec. 26 to Jan. 2. Witt is working at that camp but returning to New Haven Dec. 29-31 to coach Yale in the Nutmeg Classic.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity