See more of the story

With NHL players officially out of the Beijing Olympics, USA Hockey announced new leadership Monday for the U.S. men's team that will play at the Winter Games. John Vanbiesbrouck will serve as general manager and David Quinn will be head coach, directing a roster that will resemble the non-NHL group that represented the U.S. at the 2018 Olympics.

Vanbiesbrouck replaces Wild GM Bill Guerin, who had been appointed as Olympic GM only two weeks ago. A five-time NHL all-star in goal, Vanbiesbrouck already was overseeing USA Hockey's international programs as the organization's assistant executive director of hockey operations. Quinn, a former head coach of the New York Rangers and Boston University, will lead an Olympic team for the first time.

In a Zoom news conference, both men said they were disappointed the NHL pulled out of the Winter Games, which begin Feb. 4. The league withdrew over concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and uncertainty about what would happen to players who tested positive in China.

The U.S. team for Beijing now will be composed of players from colleges, European professional leagues and the American Hockey League, as it was for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. The 25-man roster will be revealed in mid-January.

"To be named the head coach under these circumstances, it's bittersweet,'' said Quinn, who has been an assistant coach for U.S. teams at multiple men's and women's world championships. "We all were hoping the NHL guys were going to go.

"To be sitting here as head coach of the Olympic team is a dream come true. And USA Hockey has done such an incredible job developing our talent pool. We really feel we've got a great group of players to draw from and to be able to compete for a gold medal in Beijing.''

Vanbiesbrouck and Quinn were part of the Olympic management and coaching staffs put in place when the NHL was set to participate. Quinn had been named an assistant to head coach Mike Sullivan, who stepped aside when the NHL withdrew.

Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey, said it was "very fortunate'' to have Quinn already on board and ready to move into the head coaching role. USA Hockey had been discussing a contingency plan since the NHL first announced its players would go to Beijing, but Kelleher said much work remains to be done in the 39 days before the Games begin.

Quinn said he and Vanbiesbrouck had talked every day since the NHL pulled out. They "changed gears in a hurry,'' he added, turning their attention from watching NHL players to looking for prospective Olympians in other places. Both will be involved in roster selection.

Vanbiesbrouck believes the U.S. will field a strong team at all positions. The team originally was to be unveiled at the Winter Classic on Saturday at Target Field, but now the formation of the roster will be delayed.

"We're going to have a good balance of players playing overseas right now, maybe a couple from the American Hockey League and the NCAA as well,'' he said. "Stepping up to play for your country in the Olympics is a great opportunity.''

Vanbiesbrouck's NHL goaltending career spanned 20 seasons, and he was part of the U.S. Olympic hockey team in 1998, the first Winter Games to include NHL players. Quinn was a first-round draft pick of the North Stars in 1984, but he chose to play at Boston University. A blood disorder later forced him to retire.