Just weeks before what would have been the start of the NTDP season (though it will likely be delayed), the program finds itself without a head coach for either team.
Seth Appert has been appointed as head coach of the Rochester Americans, Buffalo Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams announced today.
“It’s an honor to become head coach of the Rochester Americans and be part of the Buffalo Sabres organization,” Appert said. “I know the passion of both fan bases and I look forward to helping develop players for the Sabres while building on the winning culture in Rochester. I would like to thank Terry and Kim Pegula, Kevyn Adams and Ralph Krueger for this incredible opportunity and their belief in me.”
Appert has a long history of developing players at all levels. He has spent the last three years as a head coach within USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP), two with the Under-18 Team and one with the Under-17 Team.
During his first season with the NTDP in 2017-18, Appert guided the Under-18 Team to a gold medal at the Five Nations Tournament. The team also finished the season with an Eastern Conference-best 41-18-0-1 record, the team’s best finish since joining the United States Hockey League.
In 2018, Appert led the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team to a silver medal at the IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship. The year prior, he helped guide Team USA to a gold medal at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship as an assistant coach and served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship. He also had two stints as head coach (2008, 2011) and one as assistant coach (2007) of the U.S. National Under-18 Select Team that competed in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Prior to joining USA Hockey, the Cottage Grove, Minn., native spent 20 years in the NCAA Division I coaching ranks, including 11 seasons as head coach of the men’s program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Appert guided the team to an appearance in the 2011 NCAA Tournament following a 20-win season before leading RPI to its best finish in more than two decades just two years later with a second-place finish in the ECAC standings.
Appert, who formerly served as president of the American Hockey Coaches Association, also spent nine seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Denver, where he helped the Pioneers to a pair of NCAA National Championships as well as three WCHA playoff championships and two WCHA regular-season titles.
Appert received his degree in 1996 from Ferris State University, where he was a four-year letter winner as a goaltender.
The Los Angeles Kings have agreed to terms on a contract with John Wroblewski to become the next head coach for the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Ontario Reign, it was announced today.
Wroblewski joins the Reign after spending the last four seasons (2016-20) as a head coach with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. In his role, Wroblewski spent two-year stints with players from the same birth year and alternated as head coach for the U.S. National Under-17 Team (2017-18, 2019-20) and Under-18 Team (2016-17, 2018-19).
Last season, Wroblewski headed the 2003 date-of-birth group in their U17 season, where they ripped off 13 straight USHL wins in the first half of the season, the longest streak ever by an NTDP U17 team.
In 2018-19, he led a record-setting U18 squad that set the all-time NTDP mark with 17 NHL draft picks from a single draft class, eight of whom were taken in the first round.
Competing in the United States Hockey League (USHL), as well as against collegiate and international opponents, Wroblewski guided the program and its players to historic heights. Over his four years with the NTDP, the program reached its first USHL playoff berth since 2012, its first-ever USHL Eastern Conference Finals appearance (2018) and a top-three finish in all 12 international tournaments entered. Wroblewski also oversaw the development of 29 NHL Draft picks, including Jack Hughes, who was selected first overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Of the 29 picks, 11 were first-round selections.
At the International Ice Hockey Federation level, Wroblewski served as head coach for the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team twice, guiding the U.S. to one gold-medal (2017) and one bronze-medal finish (2019).
Prior to being named a head coach at the NTDP, Wroblewski served as head coach of the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms for one season (2015-16). He also coached professionally as an assistant coach for two seasons (2013-15) with the AHL’s Rochester Americans and two seasons (2011-13) as head coach of the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators, where he was co-recipient of the 2011-12 Coach of the Year Award. Prior to Gwinnett, he also spent one season as an assistant coach for the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers (2010-11).
The Neenah, Wisconsin, native began his coaching career as an intern assistant coach with the NTDP and was promoted to a full-time assistant coach the following season, a position he would hold from 2008-10.
Wroblewski, a player on the inaugural NTDP roster in 1997, skated four years with the University of Notre Dame (1999-2003). He went on to play four years (2003-07) professionally with the ECHL’s Fresno Falcons, recording 125 points (65-60) in 273 career games.