Mike Sullivan of the Pittsburgh Penguins has been appointed as head coach of the US men's ice hockey team for Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

Mike Sullivan and Joel Johnson have been named as head coaches of the United States’ men’s and women’s ice hockey teams respectively for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, while David Hoff has been named as the Para ice hockey team’s head coach for 2022.

Sullivan brings a wealth of international coaching experience to the role, serving as an assistant to Peter Laviolette at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics, head coach at the 2007 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship, and assistant to John Tortorella in the 2008 World Championships and the 2016 World Cup of Ice Hockey.

He is currently the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who he led to the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017.

However, the involvement of players from the National Hockey League (NHL) remains uncertain, with negotiations taking place between the NHL and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

A decision is expected to be made after Tokyo 2020.

NHL players were absent from Pyeongchang 2018 for the first time since 1998 as the US were eliminated by the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals.

As reported by the Associated Press, Sullivan has detached himself from the issue.

"I’m going to operate on the premise that the NHL and the IOC are going to work towards an agreement and we’re going to participate," said Sullivan.

"That’s the approach that we have to take and we’re just entrusting that the powers that be are going to work out an agreement and hopefully that will be sooner than later."

The 53-year-old also made clear his ambition to win the men’s ice hockey tournament for only the third time and the first time since the Miracle on Ice victory over the Soviet Union in 1980.

It would also be the first time the US has won a men’s ice hockey Olympic gold overseas.

"Definitely the expectation is to win gold if you look at the player pool that we have in the United States today," he commented.

"For me, it’s as deep as it’s ever been, and I think that’s a bold statement.

"My generation had some terrific American-born players that built such a strong legacy, like Brian Leetch, Chris Chelios, Keith Tkachuk, Billy Guerin, Tony Amonte, and Jeremy Roenick.

"I think this new wave of young American players right now is every bit as talented."

Joel Johnson will lead the women's ice hockey team, who won gold at Pyeongchang 2018 ©Getty Images
Joel Johnson will lead the women's ice hockey team, who won gold at Pyeongchang 2018 ©Getty Images

Having been involved at the 2006 Winter Games, Sullivan cannot wait to repeat the experience this time as head coach next February.

"It’s the pinnacle of sports," he affirmed.

"One of the greatest experiences, I found, was having the ability to live in the Olympic Village with all the other athletes.

"Just being able to eat lunch in the cafeteria next to athletes from other sports and sharing each other’s experiences, you end up meeting people and rooting for them.

"There’s a camaraderie with all the other athletes that represent your nation."

Sullivan’s assistants are yet to be announced.

The women’s ice hockey team, meanwhile, will be led by Johnson.

He will also lead his nation at the IIHF Women’s World Championship in Calgary in August.

He served as assistant the last time the event ran in 2019 when the US claimed gold in Espoo in Finland for the fifth consecutive time.

Johnson also led the under-18s women’s national team to four consecutive IIHF World Women’s U18 Championships from 2015 to 2018 and is currently the head coach of the University of St Thomas’ women’s team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III.

The US are perennial medallists in the women’s competition, triumphing the first time it ran in 1998 and last time out at Pyeongchang, as well as claiming three silvers and one bronze in between.

Johnson believes the US are well positioned to do well again in Beijing.

"Certainly the groundwork has been laid with our women’s team winning a gold medal in the previous Olympics in South Korea in dramatic fashion," he said.

"I can’t wait to continue on with the incredible foundation that was laid by those players and staff that were involved with that."

Johnson is also aiming for success at the IIHF Women’s World Championships in August.

He added: "Our player pool is deep.

"We’ve got some great young players.

"Seven or eight haven’t had any [senior] national team experience, so they’ll certainly get a taste of what it’s like at the highest level and be forced into some evaluation right off the bat.

"But make no mistake, our goal is not just to use this as an evaluatory tool.

"Unlike the NHL players, we’ve got the privilege to then have some practice and residency time with that group.

"That’ll be really our primary evaluation.

"When we get to Calgary in August, certainly we're going to watch and see how the players perform, but our goal is to win a world championship, and that’ll stay number one."

Assistant coach at the last Paralympics, David Hoff, has been announced as the head coach of the US’ national Para ice hockey team for 2022.

He helped the US to win gold at Pyeongchang in 2018 for the third successive Winter Games and guided the nation to two consecutive triumphs at the world championships in 2019 and 2021.

Pat Kelleher, the executive director of USA Hockey, hopes the appointments will lead to victories on the rink next year.

"We’re thrilled with the head coaches that will guide our teams at the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics," said Kelleher.

"We’ve said all along that our objective is to bring home three gold medals, and with the experience and leadership possessed by Mike, Joel and David, we know our teams are in good hands."

The Beijing Winter Olympics are scheduled to run from February 4 to 20 2022, with the Winter Paralympics held from March 4 to 13 2022.