PLYMOUTH, Mich. - Greg Moore feels like he is coming home.
He grew up with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, first as a player and then an assistant coach. Moore now returns to the program to lead the U.S. National Under-17 team for the 2023-24 season.
“I’m thrilled,” Moore said. “This feels like home to me. I have spent so much time here and have formed relationships during that time, both past and present. This level of coaching is extremely rewarding and sometimes, selfishly, very fulfilling. You get to help young men become better people for their communities, not only better hockey players.”
Moore credits his previous NTDP coaches when he was a player that helped instill his love for coaching. They also gave him the idea that he wanted to pursue this route one day.
“It all originated when I was 17 years old with [former coaches] Mike Eaves and John Hynes,” Moore said. “Playing for them and experiencing their coaching styles and philosophies, it really motivated me to want to be a coach someday whenever my playing career came to an end.”
When he was wrapping up his nine-year playing career, Moore came to the realization that he was starting to think about the game differently.
Moore following Team USA's gold medal at the 2017 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship
“Even in the last few years I played, I would be processing things during a game in terms of what I would be doing as a coach if I was in that situation instead of thinking of my next shift,” he said. “My mind was really starting to shift, and I was weighing the pros and cons, and the opportunities that lied ahead for me.”
Moore reached out to Scott Monaghan and Jason Hodges — members of the NTDP staff that he knew — to inquire about any opportunities to coach there. His timing couldn’t have been better, as there was an opening on the staff.
It took those little connections to have his coaching career take off in 2015. He spent three seasons as an assistant coach at the NTDP. During that time, he helped Team USA win a gold medal at the 2017 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship.
Moore moved on to lead the USHL’s Chicago Steel for two seasons, which included an appearance in the 2019 Clark Cup Final. He returns to the NTDP after spending three seasons as head coach of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, where he helped lead the team to the 2023 North Division title.
Moore credits so many different individuals in helping grow his knowledge of coaching, including Don Granato, who is entering his third year as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres and used to coach at the NTDP.
“Don Granato, who I worked with, has had the biggest influence for me in the game of hockey,” he said. “More recently, having the fortune and opportunity to spend time around Sheldon Keefe [current Toronto Maple Leafs coach]. He gave me the opportunity when I was in Toronto to spend time around their staff. It was great to observe and watch him.”
Moore brings a wealth of knowledge to the NTDP. As a former player, he understands just how difficult a transition it can be for players and how lofty the team goals are each season. Those experiences still resonate with him today.
“I remember how hard those two years were — mentally, emotionally and spiritually,” he said. “Until I became a father and head coach, I still looked back at the NTPD as my hardest two years.”
Despite the challenges that those two years brought, Moore is thankful that he had the opportunity to learn as many life lessons as he did while playing for the NTDP.
He can now draw on those experiences to help his players develop.
“The first week is more about getting them adjusted to the pace and pushing them to have pace and be faster than what they have experienced in the past,” Moore said. “We can start to implement some structure and systems that will take time as we start to get into our first game. We need to get good habits and that is important to the staff as they develop skills and tools they can use.”
Moore described this process as challenging but said it can also be fun. Players come into the program with an open mind and are adaptable to play in a different style than they’re used to.
Moore knows his role and what he hopes to achieve when he steps onto the ice with his NTDP team in just a few short days.
“I look forward to challenging them, pushing them and helping them build the life skills they need to achieve those goals in life after hockey,” he said. “It’s such a big part of being the NTDP head coach.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Moore following Team USA's gold medal at the 2002 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship