Volatile John Tortorella was the surprise choice by USA Hockey to coach the American team at next year's World Cup of Hockey Tournament.
(AP) — John Tortorella is prepared to make a comeback at coaching hockey—on a temporary basis, at least.
The volatile former NHL bench boss has been selected to coach the United States national team that will compete in the World Cup of Hockey tournament next year in Toronto. USA Hockey announced Tortorella’s appointment following ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast of the New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts game.
“There’s no greater honor than to represent your country, and I’m humbled to have this experience,” Tortorella said. “We’ll have one objective, and that will be to bring the World Cup championship back to the United States.”
The Boston-born Tortorella—renowned for his combative personality—has a Stanley Cup championship pedigree, along with more NHL victories than any American-born coach. He won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year in 2004, when he also won the Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The 57-year-old Tortorella is 446-375-115 over parts of 14 seasons during his NHL coaching career, which included five high-profile years with the New York Rangers. He has been out of the NHL since May 2014, when he was fired after one season in charge of the Vancouver Canucks.
Tortorella was chosen by Team USA general manager Dean Lombardi, who is also the Los Angeles Kings’ general manager.
“He knows what it takes to win at the highest level, and I know that our entire management group looks forward to working with him and his staff,” Lombardi said.
Tortorella has ties to USA Hockey, most notably coaching the U.S. team to a sixth-place finish at the 2008 World Championships. He was also a two-time national team assistant, most recently serving under Ron Wilson on the U.S. team that won a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association are jointly organizing the World Cup, which will be played at Toronto before the start of the 2016-17 season. The tournament has been held twice previously, with the U.S. team winning the inaugural title in 1996.
The tournament will feature eight teams. The U.S., Canada, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic and Finland will field national teams, while the two remaining teams will be made of a mix of players. One will consist of North Americans 23 and younger, and the other will be filled with European-born players whose countries aren't represented, including Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Switzerland.
Canada’s TSN sports network first reported the news of Tortorella’s appointment.