COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Ray Maluta (Rochester, N.Y.) has been named the head coach of the 2010 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, it was announced today by USA Hockey. Maluta most recently coached the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team to its first-ever world title at the 2009 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic, last month.
USA Hockey also announced that J.J. O'Connor (Mt. Prospect, Ill.), chair of USA Hockey's disabled section, will serve as the general manager of the 2010 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team and Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.), manager of ice and inline coaching for USA Hockey, will serve as team leader and director of player personnel.
"Our Paralympic sled hockey team is in good hands with Ray, J.J. and Dan," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "They have the passion and commitment necessary to help our team in its quest to bring home the gold medal from Vancouver."
The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team will compete at the 2010 Paralympic Games, March 12-21, in Vancouver, B.C.
In addition to coaching the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team to a gold medal at the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship this past May, Maluta led Team USA to second-place finishes at the 2009 Hockey Canada Cup in Vancouver in March and the 2009 Japan Four Nations Tournament in January. He also guided the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team to a bronze medal at the 2008 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship in Marlborough, Mass.
Maluta is currently the executive general manager of the ESL Sports Centre in Rochester, N.Y., a position he has held for 10 years. In his role, he has served as host for numerous USA Hockey National Championships and Player Development Camps that have been held at the ESL Sports Centre.
As a player, Maluta spent four years with the Flin Flon Bombers of the Western Hockey League. In the 1973-74 season, he totaled 97 points (40-57) as a defenseman for the Bombers. The following year, he was drafted by the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins. From 1975-80, Maluta spent time with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League and the Bruins. He ended his playing career in Europe with HC Salzburg in 1981.
As chair of USA Hockey's disabled section since 2003, O'Connor has been integral in the growth of disabled hockey across the country. During his tenure, he has served on USA Hockey's board of directors and spearheaded growth in all four disciplines of disabled hockey. He most recently championed adding an Under-20 team as an integral part of the development process for USA Hockey's sled hockey program. After breaking his neck playing hockey at age 16 in 1995, O'Connor continued to follow the game and became involved with disabled hockey after graduating from Lake Forest College in 2001. While he attended the 2006 Paralympic Games in Torino, Italy, as a representative of USA Hockey, he will be making his first appearance as general manager of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team.
Brennan, a member of USA Hockey's national office staff since 1996, works as the organization's manager of coaching education and oversees the U.S. National Sled Hockey program. He has been the general manager of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team for the past three seasons and previously managed or coached the U.S. InLine National Team for seven years. After a four-year playing career at Colorado College (1982-86), where he served as team captain for his final two seasons, Brennan played professionally in Sweden for three years.
NOTE: The appointment of the above positions are subject to the approval of the United States Paralympic Committee's Games Preparation Division.