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Mike Sullivan named U.S. Olympic men’s hockey head coach for 2026

Mike Sullivan was supposed to be the U.S. men’s hockey head coach at the 2022 Olympics, but will lead the Americans in 2026 instead.

Sullivan, who has won two Stanley Cups as the Pittsburgh Penguins head coach since 2015, was announced Saturday as the head coach for Team USA at the 2026 Milano-Cortina Games in Italy.

Sullivan, 56, will also coach the U.S. at the NHL 4 Nations Face-Off tournament next February against Finland, Sweden and Canada.

Sullivan was originally named the head coach of the 2022 Olympic team, but had to give up the role after the NHL withdrew from the Games in December 2021.

The NHL needed the Olympic break back to reschedule games that had been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

David Quinn replaced him in 2022. Quinn coached a U.S. roster of collegians, minor leaguers and players in international leagues to a 3-0 record in group play followed by a quarterfinal loss to Slovakia.

This past Feb. 2, hockey officials announced that NHL players will participate in the 2026 and 2030 Olympics. The last time the Olympics had NHL players was in 2014, when the U.S. finished fourth.

The U.S. has never won an Olympic title with NHL players. Before the NHL participation era began in 1998, the U.S. won men’s hockey gold in 1960 and 1980.

Sullivan was an assistant coach on Peter Laviolette’s staff at the 2006 Olympics, then head coach at the 2007 World Championship.

Sullivan played in the NHL as a forward from 1991 through 2002 and was on the U.S. team at the 1997 World Championship.

The top Americans in the NHL right now include Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (69 goals this past season the most since Mario Lemieux had 69 in 1995-96) and Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck (league leader in save percentage among those with at least 30 games played).

The U.S. is currently playing in the world championship in Czechia. The U.S. head coach there is Minnesota Wild head coach John Hynes. Worlds end next weekend.