Head Coach, U.S. National Under-17 Team
Phone: (734) 327-9251, ext. 314
Danton Cole is in his fourth season as a head coach at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. He will guide the U.S. National Under-18 Team in 2013-14.
His most recent season at the helm included a third-place finish at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, marking the seventh consecutive top-three finish for Team USA. Cole’s squad also captured first place at the 2012 Four Nations Tournament in Monthey, Switzerland.
Additionally, Cole was a member of the coaching staff that helped steer the U.S. Men’s National Team to a bronze medal at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden.
During the 2011-12 campaign, Cole’s squad won the gold medal at the 2012 IIHF Men’s Under-18 World Championship in Brno, Czech Republic, posting a perfect 6-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record. His team also claimed a first place finish at the 2011 Four Nations Tournament in Monthey, Switzerland.
Prior to USA Hockey, Cole spent three years as head coach of the men’s ice hockey team at the University of Alabama-Huntsville where he led the Chargers to their second College Hockey America Championship (2010), earning their second NCAA Division I Tournament berth. He also served as assistant coach at Bowling Green State University from 2006-07 and head coach of the United Hockey League’s Motor City Mechanics for parts of two seasons (2004-06).
Cole was head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, from 2002-05. In that span, he became the winningest coach in team history with a 116-72-17-2 (W-L-T-OTL) record, while guiding the team to the Calder Cup playoffs twice (2002-03, 2003-04).
His coaching career began in the 1999-2000 season when he was named an assistant coach for Grand Rapids, then of the International Hockey League. After two seasons there, Cole took over the Muskegon Fury of the UHL where he guided the team to the Colonial Cup Championship (2002).
The Pontiac, Mich., native got his first taste of international coaching experience when he served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, but he was no stranger to international play. Cole was a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team at three IIHF Men’s World Championships (1990, 1991, 1994), earning Outstanding Player recognition in 1991.
He also appeared in 318 games in the National Hockey League from 1989-96, including stints with Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, New Jersey, the New York Islanders, and Chicago. He was part of the Devils squad that earned its first Stanley Cup title in 1995.
Prior to embarking on his pro career, Cole was a four-year letterwinner at Michigan State University from 1985-89. As a Spartan, Cole appeared in 180 games and compiled 163 points (69-94). He was part of the squad that captured the 1986 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship. In 1989, he received the Big Ten Medal of Honor as MSU’s top student-athlete in both scholarship and achievement. Cole was named to three Central Collegiate Hockey Association All-Academic Teams and twice served as an alternate captain for the Spartans. He was named Most Valuable Player his senior season and graduated with a degree in finance. Cole was also awarded with the 2012-13 Distinguished Spartan Award from his alma mater.