By @MichaelCaples –
Detroit native John Vanbiesbrouck has a new job – and a very prestigious and important one at that.
The former NHL netminder and current Muskegon Lumberjacks general manager has been named the Assistant Executive Director of Hockey Operations for USA Hockey.
“We are beyond thrilled to have John join our staff,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “Through his exceptional playing career, what he has done since retiring and his history with USA Hockey, John is well positioned to lead a very important part of our organization and I know he is excited to get started.”
Vanbiesbrouck’s new job will include oversight of all of USA Hockey’s international efforts, including its men’s, women’s and sled programs, as well as the National Junior Development Program.
“I’m really humbled and honored to have this opportunity,” said Vanbiesbrouck in the release. “I look forward to building on the foundation that has been put in place by Art Berglund and Jim Johannson, among others, and while I know I have much to learn, it’s a challenge that I’m really excited about.”
According to USA Hockey’s statement, Vanbiesbrouck will play a significant role in maintaining and enhancing USA Hockey’s relationships with key constituent groups, including the U.S. Olympic Committee and the NHL.
He has been working with USA Hockey as a volunteer since 2008, and he was elected vice president and chair of the Junior Council in 2012.
Vanbiesbrouck will officially begin his duties on June 4, and he will be based out of USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth.
“It is really exciting to get someone with John’s background,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “He brings a unique perspective, including being a key volunteer for our organization for the last year eight years.”
During his tenure as Lumberjacks general manager, Vanbiesbrouck guided Muskegon to a 162-115-6 record, a Eastern Conference title in 2015 and three trips to the Clark Cup playoffs.
“John taught me everything I know about junior hockey,” said Lumberjacks owner Dan Israel in a statement from the team. “He’s been a tremendous friend and mentor, and the Muskegon Lumberjacks would not be where they are today without him. I am thrilled and happy for him and I’m confident he’ll do a fantastic job with USA Hockey. I will be forever thankful for the time he spent helping me and everyone in Muskegon.”
His NHL career spanned 20 seasons, with stops in New York (Rangers), Florida, Philadelphia, New York (Islanders) and New Jersey. The five-time NHL All-Star won 374 NHL games, which remains the most by any American netminder in league history.
Vanbiesbrouck was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.