Former Colorado Avalanche head coach Tony Granato has been named coach of Team USA for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Also filling out assistant coach roles for Team USA will be Keith Allain, Chris Chelios, Ron Rolston, and Scott Young.
USA Hockey announced management roles as well for Jim Johannson, who has been named general manager, and Ben Smith, who will be the new director of player personnel.
This will be Granato’s first time as the head coach for the U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey team, but the 53-year-old previously was an assistant coach for the team in 2014. Granato also has played for Team USA in seven different international competitions, including the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Granato has three years of NHL head coaching experience from his time behind the bench with the Avalanche from 2002 to 2004 then in the 2008-09 season. During his time coaching Colorado, he led the team to a 104-78-17 record, two playoff appearances, and a first- and second-place division finish with two 100-point seasons. Granato also was an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2009 to 2014, and he spent some time as an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings.
In 2016, Granato was named head coach of University of Wisconsin’s men’s hockey team and he led the Badgers to a second-place finish in the Big Ten with a 20-15-1 record. Granato’s brother, Don, also coached under him last season, but he was hired by the Blackhawks this summer as an assistant coach.
The Olympics will look significantly different this year, as the NHL will not be participating for the first time since 1998. New general manager Johannson told reporters on Friday that he will not attempt to poach players on NHL contracts, despite their willingness. Granato and the team have a lot of work ahead of them, though, as they attempt to assemble a championship-caliber team made up of college players and beyond.