By Duncan Mackay

Jeff SauerFebruary 19 - Jeff Sauer will lead the United States sledge hockey team when they defend their Paralympic title at Sochi 2014, it has been officially announced.

The decision had been widely expected. 

Sauer, who turns 70 next month, has been working with the US  team since 2011 and has led it to victory in its last three international competitions, including last year's World Championships in Hamer. 

"He was the unquestionable choice for this position," Dave Ogrean, the executive director of USA Hockey, said.

Sauer is one of America's most successful collegiate ice hockey coaches and is in the Hall of Fame.

He was the head coach at the University of Wisconsin from 1983 to 2002 and Colorado College from 1971 to 1980. 

While at Wisconsin, he led the Badgers to two NCAA men's ice hockey championships.

The US will be seeking their fourth consecutive Paralympic gold medal at Sochi 2014 having won at Salt Lake City 2002, Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010. 

USA sledge hockey team celebrate gold medal Vancouver 2010America's sledge hockey celebrate winning their third consecutive Paralympic gold medal at Vancouver in 2010

"It's a great situation for me," Sauer said.

"I'm very honoured to be involved and look forward to having a lot of success on the international scene."

Sauer is heavily involved in coaching disability sport. 

He will be the head coach of Team USA at the 2013 World Deaf Hockey Championship in Vantaa, Finland, this April, having led them at three previous tournaments.

He also led the US to a gold-medal finish at the 2007 Winter Deaflympics in Salt Lake City.

Sauer also is currently a member of USA Hockey's International Council and Disabled Hockey Committee, and is President of the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association.

"This has been very, very rewarding," Sauer said.

"I can't say enough about how it's rejuvenated me from a coaching standpoint.

I have coached [NHL players] Chris Chelios, Danny Heatley, Bruce Driver and Pat Flatley, etc. and these guys are no different.

"The just have a handicap they have to deal with."

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