Blackhawks hire Samuelsson, Granato as assistant coaches
CHICAGO — Former NHL defenseman Ulf Samuelsson and Don Granato are joining coach Joel Quenneville’s staff in Chicago, giving the Blackhawks a fresh perspective after they were swept in the first round of the playoffs this year.
The 53-year Samuelsson was the head coach of the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League last season. He also has been an assistant coach for the New York Rangers and the Coyotes.
Samuelsson played with Quenneville and returning Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen with the Hartford Whalers.
“This is a great opportunity to join a franchise that not only is historically popular, but has also had a lot of great success recently,” Samuelsson said Thursday in a release.
The Blackhawks won the Central Division this season with a 50-23-9 record, finishing with the most points in the Western Conference. But they had a quick stay in the playoffs, managing just three goals in the sweep by Nashville.
Assistant Mike Kitchen was fired a couple days after the season ended. Ted Dent, the coach of Chicago’s AHL affiliate in Rockford, also was let go.
Granato, who is from the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, spent last season as an associate head coach for the University of Wisconsin men’s team. He also has coached in the U.S. development system and the East Coast Hockey League.
“Ulf brings over 20 years of NHL experience and knows what it takes to be a Stanley Cup champion,” general manager Stan Bowman said. “Don has an extensive coaching background and has been successful at developing players at every level. Both have the leadership skills and experience to complement our staff.”