It’s hard to keep good young hockey players in a program for long and Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato has found out it’s difficult to keep good coaches around very long too.
The answer came this week when Associate Head Coach Don Granato accepted an offer to become an NHL assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The move comes just one season after Tony Granato took over the program and brought Don Granato and Mark Osiecki with him to run the Badger hockey program.
All three coaches have had success running their own programs and its the reason why the Blackhawks came calling.
“The situation that Donny’s going to be in is a great opportunity,” said Tony Granato. “What Donny can add to a team is why he was pursued by them as aggressively as he was.”
Tony Granato said he isn’t going anywhere and Osiecki has been contacted by multiple NHL organizations, said he’s happy being a Badger.
Don Granato worked with Joel Quenneville (Blackhawks coach) when the two were employed by the St. Louis Blues in 2005-06. Since arriving in Chicago, Quenneville has helped the Blackhawks win three Stanley Cups.
Don Granato said he wouldn’t have left if he thought the program wasn’t in good hands. But Tony Granato and company inherited a program that had won 12 of 70 games from 2014 to ’16 and promptly executed a dramatic turnaround. The Badgers finished 20-15-1 overall, placed second in the Big Ten Conference and narrowly missed qualifying for the 16-team NCAA tournament.
At the same time, the tri re-established Wisconsin, a six-time national champion, as a destination for top recruits in North America and beyond.
Tony Granato said he has a list of potential replacements for his brother and is looking forward to the changes ahead. The search begins immediately.