GREEN BAY, Wis. - Former St. Lawrence Central hockey standout Derek Lalonde made another addition last month to what is becoming an increasing impressive coaching resume.
Already in his third season at the helm of the Green Bay Gamblers of the United State Hockey League, the Brasher Falls native was named head coach of the United States Junior Select team that will be competing at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge which opens on Monday in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Lalonde served as an assistant coach for the U.S. team that went 4-0-0 on the way to the 2012 World Junior A Challenge championship. In 2011-12, Lalonde led the Gamblers to Clark Cup and Anderson Cup titles.
Lalonde will be assisted on the U.S. Junior Select team by Anthony Noreen, the GM/coach of the USHLs Youngstown Phantoms, and Mark Abalan, the assistant coach for the USHLs Sioux City Musketeers.
The World Junior A Challenge, which is slated to run from November 4-10, will include a six-team field with squads representing the United States, Canada East, Canada West, Czech Republic, Russia and Switzerland.
All the players on the Team USA roster come from USHL squads, including three from Lalondes Gamblers.
Lalonde was named head coach and general manager of the Gamblers in August 2011. He is the sixth head coach/GM in the history of the franchise. In his first year, he led the Gamblers to both the Anderson and Clark Cups. The regular season mark of 47-9-4 set a USHL Tier 1 record for wins in a season, fewest loses, points in a season (98), and road victories in a season (25). The team never lost consecutive games throughout the regular season or playoffs, and Lalonde was named USHL Coach of the Year. The team also made history at the annual NHL Draft as Jordan Schmaltz became the second Gambler, joining Blake Wheeler (Phoenix Coytoes/2004) to be drafted in the first round (St. Louis Blues 25th overall).
In 2012-13, Lalonde led the Gamblers to a 37-23-4 record and a second place finish in the Eastern conference. One of the many highlights, was the setting a franchise record with 15 straight wins at home. The Gamblers also saw success in the 2013 NHL Draft, when Gustav Olofsson was chosen 46th overall by the Minnesota Wild. On the international stage, Lalonde served as an assistant with the United States World Junior A/U19 team, which captured a gold medal at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Lalonde will serve as head coach of the United States at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge.
USA Hockey on Wednesday announced that Derek Lalonde will serve as coach of the United States Junior Select team that will play in the 2013 World Junior A Challenge next month in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Prior to his time with the Gamblers, Lalonde spent five years as an assistant coach at the University of Denver. While at Denver, Lalonde compiled a 122-63-19 record and helped lead the Pioneers to two WCHA Championships (2008 and 2010), and four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. In Lalondes tenure at Denver, the team never fell out of the national Top 15 rankings. Lalonde recruited and coached first round NHL draft picks Joe Colburne and Beau Bennett, and second round NHL picks Drew Shore, Jason Zucker, Patrick Weircoch – all of whom saw NHL action in 2012-2013.
Lalondes Divison 1 coaching career began at Ferris State in Big Rapids, Michigan. Lalonde served as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs for three seasons (2003-06). In his first year at Ferris State the Bulldogs posted a school best 31-10-1 mark in route to their first and only CCHA Championship and also qualified for NCAA tournament.
Lalonde also coached two of the most sought-after NHL College free agents of all time in Chris Kunitz (currently with the Pittsburgh Penguins) and Tyler Bozak (Toronto Maple Leafs).
Lalonde is a member of the Warren Strelow goaltender mentoring program and has had success in goaltender development. The last four collegiate goaltenders that he worked with signed NHL contracts at the conclusion of their graduation – Mitch OKeefe (Ottawa Senators), Glen Fisher (Edmonton Oilers), Peter Maninno (NY Islanders), and Marc Cheverie (Florida Panthers). Under the tuteledge of Lalonde, Green Bay netminder Ryan McKay was named USHL Goaltender of the Year (2012).
Lalonde played collegiate hockey at Cortland State and received the Red Letter Award as team MVP his senior year. He graduated with a B.S.E in Physical Education in 1995 and later received a M.A. in Education Administration from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 1998.
Lalonde and his wife, Melissa, have three children Alex, Luke, and Abby.