Bottineau athletic director named head coach of U.S. national sled hockey team
BOTTINEAU, N.D.—David Hoff said he never assumed he would rise up the USA Hockey ranks, and is now the head coach of the U.S. national sled hockey team.
The Minot State graduate and current Bottineau High School athletic director, math teacher and hockey coach was announced as head coach of the the U.S. national team on Thursday, July 5.
Hoff's intro to sled hockey came in 2010 after he received an email asking if he could help with the annual Team USA sled hockey camp in Buffalo, N.Y.
In 2016, he received a call to be an assistant coach of the men's national sled hockey team and is now the head coach heading into the upcoming season.
Hoff said he didn't anticipate being in this position.
"I think going back to 2010, I never assumed anything," Hoff said. "I was awfully excited, but it wasn't anything I expected."
Last season, Hoff helped the United States to a 16-1 overall record that included two championship victories. Team USA won the title at the 2017 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and the 2018 Turin Para Ice Hockey International Tournament in Turin, Italy. Team USA also captured a third-straight gold medal at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
In the gold medal game, Team USA tied it with a late goal and then took the win in overtime.
"It was an incredible experience," Hoff said about the 2018 Paralympics. "For us to win a semifinal game, and get to a gold medal game and tie it with 37 seconds to then win in OT is an incredible way to win. It was that same feeling of winning in OT, times 100."
This will be Hoff's third season with the U.S. national team. He served as an assistant coach under Guy Gosselin last season and the late Jeff Sauer in 2016-2017.
He said his experience working as an assistant has helped him get a feel for the team.
"I think now having been with the program I understand where we're at as a team and know where individuals are at," Hoff said. "I do think I understand development-wise where we're at. The previous guys put us on a good track."
The next Winter Paralympic Games are in 2022 in Beijing. Hoff said he will need to prove he's the right guy to still be at the helm for the next Winter Games.
"I go back to all along I hadn't assumed or expected anything," Hoff said. "I got to show I can do the job. For me this is my first opportunity to show I can be the head coach."