Only a year after the University of Wisconsin’s men hockey program acquired Don Granato, the former associate head coach announced that he will be taking an assistant head coach position with the Chicago Blackhawks.
— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerMHockey) June 15, 2017
Granato, his brother and current head coach Tony Granato and fellow Wisconsin associate head coach Mark Osiecki came to UW back in 2016 following a rather unpleasant season under the leadership of Mike Eaves. The trio was sent in to help reform the once great men’s hockey program to its former glory.
With the 2015-16 season ending in a 8-19-8 record, it was clear that this new regime had a lot of work ahead of them. Still, in a matter of only a single year, Granato and his fellow coaches managed to get the Badgers to a winning record of 20-15-1, and secured Wisconsin a spot in the Big Ten Tournament.
The Blackhawks announced June 15th Granato had been hired as a member of Joel Quenneville’s coaching staff for the 2017-18 season. The Blackhawks were Stanley Cup Champions in 2010, 2013 and most recently in 2015.
Ulf Samuelsson and Don Granato have been hired as assistant coaches and added to Joel Quenneville's coaching staff. pic.twitter.com/tRkBRZGxXR
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) June 15, 2017
Don’s brother Tony told the Wisconsin State Journal that getting into the NHL was never a priority of his brother’s, but that it was such a great opportunity for him. Tony Granato said it had been his brother’s dream to coach in the NHL since he was a child, and felt nothing but happiness for his sibling.
“I think it’s a great position for him,” Granato said. “I’m really excited for him, just like I was for Luke Kunin and just like I will be for any of our players that move on and get to fulfill their dreams and be where they want to be in our game.”
— Todd Milewski (@ToddMilewski) June 15, 2017
Tony Granato and Mark Osiecki will continue on with the Badgers in the 2017-18 season, hoping to continue with the success they found with Don Granato this past season. No word has been released yet as to who their second associate head coach will be.