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Ayers named USNTDP goalie coach

USA Hockey on Thursday named Mike Ayers goaltending coach for the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Ayers, who spent the last two seasons as goalie coach at St. Cloud State University in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, will also serve as coordinator of the USNTDP's Warren Strelow National Goaltending Mentor Program. Ayers, a native of Hingham, Mass., replaces Joe Exter, who left the NTDP post after four seasons to become an assistant coach at Ohio State University.

"It's a great honor and a challenge I look forward to," Ayers said. "Hockey in our country has come a long way and it's exciting to have an opportunity to contribute to its continued advancement through this position."

Prior to the 2009-10 campaign, he served as goaltending coach for the Iowa Chops, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. He has also served as a regional scout for the NTDP and worked as a regional mentor for the Strelow National Goaltending Program.

"Mike brings the passion and knowledge to not only help mold our nation's best goaltenders, but to also encourage more young athletes to try the position," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of USA Hockey. "He'll be a terrific addition to our staff."

Ayers was a four-year standout at the University of New Hampshire (2000-04), appearing in 102 games and compiling a 58-25-12 record. He was named USA Hockey's College Player of the Year in 2003, the same season he earned American Hockey Coaches Association/JOFA East Second Team All-America honors. He went on to compete professionally for four seasons in the American Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League and in Europe.