Kate Lachapelle (center), talks to Team USA at a practice during the IIHF World Under-18 Championships earlier this month in Madison, Wisconsin. USA Hockey

Katie Lachapelle is glad she had the chance to coach the next crop of high-end women’s hockey players.

The Lewiston native and Holy Cross women’s hockey coach, led Team USA to a silver medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Under-18 Women’s World Championships in Madison, Wisconsin, earlier this month.

“To be able to coach a team like that,” Lachapelle said, “being a little part of the journey of some of those players who will end up being Olympians at some point — I think there will be a few on (this year’s U18 team) that will be Olympians — being a small part of their journey with that crew, especially with (the tournament) being in the United States, it was in a very good environment.”

USA Hockey announced Thursday that Lachapelle will once again be the U18 team’s head coach for the 2023 IIHF Under-18 World Championships in Ostersund and Brunflo, Sweden, from Jan. 8-15.

Lachapelle had been on the U18 coaching staff before as an assistant from 2013-17, but 2022 was the first time she was the head coach. She also was an assistant coach for Team USA’s U22 women’s team in 2018 and 2019.

One aspect Lachapelle said she enjoyed most being the head coach was collaborating on different ideas with the rest of the coaching staff and scouts.

Advertisement

One of those scouts was Colby College women’s hockey coach Holley Tyng, who led the Mules to an NCAA Division III quarterfinal appearance this past season. Tyng and Lachapelle were teammates at Providence College from 1997-99.

Lewiston native Katie Lachapelle coached Team USA at the IIHF World Under-18 Championships earlier this mon in Madison, Wisconsin. USA Hockey

“We were actually roommates for a little bit, I knew her very well, and it was a fantastic choice (by USA Hockey) for her to come in and be our scout,” Lachapelle said. “She was invaluable, and she would be at all the games we couldn’t be at because we had the last game (of the day) every night. She was at all the games. She gave us our scouting reports. She collaborated with me on our scout videos for our pregame meetings. She put us in a position to know everything about our opponents. During (our) games, she was our eye in the sky. She did a fantastic job and helped us the whole tournament.”

One of the difficulties Lachapelle encountered was not having a lot of time to install her system.

“From a coaching standpoint, it’s such a short time frame, and you essentially have three (or four) practices to put in your systems — after that, you are pretty much in game mode.”

‘PARITY WAS GREAT’

Team USA played all its games at the LaBahn Arena, home of the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team. Three of the Americans’ five games had more than 2,000 fans in an arena that has 2,246 seats.

Advertisement

The U.S. got off to a blazing start to the tournament winning all three preliminary-round games by a combined scoring margin of 17-1.

Lachapelle noticed during the tournament how much other countries improved since January 2020 — the last time the IIHF held a Under-18 Women’s World Championships. In the preliminary round, Finland upset Canada. The Americans had their own scare in the semifinals before coming from behind to defeat Sweden 3-2, setting up a showdown with Canada in the gold medal game. The Americans previously beat Sweden in the preliminary round 6-1.

“Overall, the level of women’s ice hockey at (the U18 level) has certainly taken a step up,” Lachapelle said. “We haven’t seen all the countries in a couple of years, so the parity was great.”

In the preliminary round, the U.S. dismantled Canada 7-0, but the Canadians got their revenge in the gold medal game defeating the Americans 3-2.

Lachapelle said things went the United States’ way in the preliminary-round matchup with Canada, but didn’t in the gold medal game.

“There’s something to be said about getting the bounces, and the score wasn’t indicative of the (closeness of teams in the preliminary round) game,” Lachapelle said. “I thought we got off to a hot start with some pretty good bounces and we put (Canada) back on their heels. Then you go into the gold medal game — and I think it was (Canada’s) third goal, (Jocelyn Amos) came right down the middle for a slap shot, we had two (players) go down and block it; they have someone out front and somehow (the puck) still goes in the net. The week before, that was a block.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: