U.S. names Wild’s Bill Guerin GM for Olympics, 4 Nations Face-Off: What are his toughest decisions?

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Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin was named to the same position for the 2025 4 Nations Face-Off and United States’ 2026 Olympic teams, USA Hockey announced Thursday. What you need to know:
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Friday at All-Star weekend that NHL players are returning to Olympic competition in 2026 and 2030 after an agreement was reached with the IIHF, IOC and NHLPA.
NHL players haven’t gone to the Olympics since 2014, in Sochi. A deal could not be reached to send them to the 2018 PyeongChang Games, and the league withdrew from the 2022 Beijing Games over COVID-19 concerns after initially agreeing to participate.
Hockey has not had a best-on-best international tournament since the 2016 World Cup. To get back on a regular schedule, the 2026 Olympics will follow the 2025 4 Nations Face-Off next February, in place of the NHL All-Star Game, featuring players from the U.S., Canada, Sweden and Finland.
Why Guerin?
He has the pedigree. Not only was he supposed to be the GM for the Beijing team before the NHL withdrew, but the 53-year-old represented the United States in the Olympics three times as a player (1998 in Nagano, 2002 in Salt Lake City and 2006 in Torino), winning a silver medal in 2002.
Guerin played 18 years in the NHL, winning two Stanley Cups as a player, with the New Jersey Devils in 1995 and Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009; two more as a Penguins executive (2016 and 2017); and he was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013. He is tied for the eighth-most goals (429) amongst U.S.-born players in NHL history.
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“I’m just super excited for this opportunity,” Guerin told The Athletic on Thursday. “I was 9 years old when the Miracle on Ice happened, and that was very impactful in my life and my love for hockey and my desire to represent my country. So this means a lot. It really does. And I take it very seriously.”
Guerin has been the Wild GM since 2019, during which time the team is 191-113-35 and hasn’t missed the playoffs, though they also have not advanced to the second round. Minnesota is currently in seventh place in the Central Division at 22-23-5. — Michael Russo, senior NHL writer
Can Team USA win it all?
While Canada is the usual favorite, Guerin’s Team USA will be stacked, arguably possessing the best roster on paper.
There’s enviable center depth with Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel and Jack Hughes. The Tkachuk brothers and Tage Thompson. A deep blue line led by Charlie McAvoy, Adam Fox and Quinn Hughes. And any of their top three goalies could start for Canada, which lacks depth there.
Whether it’s the 4 Nations Cup or the Olympics, the Americans will be in prime position internationally with this generation of NHLers.
Guerin said his dream is to manage the U.S. to gold medals in both: “That’s the goal. USA Hockey has come so far in the last 25 years that it’s no longer good enough to just participate. We go in with the expectation of winning, and that’s what I love.” — Russo and Joe Smith, senior Wild writer
What will Guerin’s toughest roster decisions be?
It’s hard to imagine a Team USA without Detroit Red Wings winger Patrick Kane, arguably the greatest American-born player of all time. But to select him or not will be among the harder decisions Guerin has to make, as will another veteran and international constant, Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski.
Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser, currently seventh in the NHL in goals with 30, could be on the bubble, as well. But the toughest calls may be on Guerin’s own players in Minnesota, as rookie defenseman Brock Faber will be an intriguing option coming off a year that’s gotten Calder Trophy buzz. And where does Wild winger Matt Boldy fit?
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“We’re going to have some hard decisions, but we deal with those all the time,” Guerin said. “To some guys, we deliver extreme disappointment. But on the other hand, to some guys, we deliver the opportunity of a lifetime. And we have to make sure that we get it right and we pick the guys who are going to have 100 percent buy-in no matter what their role is. It’s going to take a real team to win.”
Guerin’s first duty as GM will be naming the first six players for the 4 Nations event early this summer. — Russo and Smith
Who might be on Guerin’s staff?
New York Rangers GM Chris Drury is a good bet to be assistant GM, as he was going to be the same under Guerin for Beijing, as are Florida Panthers GM Bill Zito and New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Guerin added somebody like Minnesota Wild director of player personnel Chris Kelleher due to his pro scouting expertise. Guerin will work with assistant executive director John Vanbiesbrouck, but it’ll be his decision and he hopes to name a staff relatively soon. — Russo and Smith
Required reading
(Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn / NHLI via Getty Images)

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