USA Hockey announced the coaching staff for the U.S. Junior Select Team that will participate in the 2016 World Junior A Challenge from Dec. 11-17, in Bonnyville, Alberta. Sioux City Musketeers head coach Jay Varady was named head coach of the team, with Lincoln Stars head coach Chris Hartsburg and Dubuque Fighting Saints associate head coach JB Bittner serving as assistants.
“It’s a great honor for the USHL to represent USA Hockey at an international level,” said Bob Fallen, USHL president and commissioner. “Jay Varady and Chris Hartsburg have proven they can develop junior talent both on and off the ice in America’s only sanctioned Tier 1 league. JB Bittner has had great experience at both the USHL and NCAA levels and will be a valuable addition to Jay’s staff.”
Serving as head coach at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, Varady helped guide the U.S. Junior Select Team to its sixth title in seven years at the event. He was also the video coach for the gold medal-winning 2010 U.S. National Junior Team and assistant coach of the 2010 U.S. Under-18 Select Team that took second place in the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
Varady is in his fourth season as head coach in Sioux City. He has led the Musketeers to a pair of Clark Cup Playoffs appearance in his first three seasons. Varady was also named the head coach of Team West in the 2015 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Dubuque, IA. Varady previously played for the Dubuque Fighting Saints and Union College (NCAA) prior to beginning his coaching career with his college alma mater.
Hartsburg is in his third season as head coach in Lincoln. He led the Lincoln Stars to a Clark Cup Playoffs appearance last season after serving as head coach of Team West in the 2016 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Omaha, NE. Hartsburg previously played for the Omaha Lancers and Colorado College (NCAA) prior to a six-year professional playing career.
Bittner is in his first season as associate head coach in Dubuque. He previously served as an assistant coach for the University of Wisconsin (NCAA) and for the Tri-City Storm during the team’s 2014-15 Clark Cup Playoffs run. Bittner previously played for the Sioux Falls Stampede and Ohio State University (NCAA) prior to a four-year pro career. Bittner began his coaching career at his college alma mater in the 2009-10 season.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.