Wisconsin men’s hockey assistant coach Don Granato had plans to help turn around the Badgers’ program. During his one year on the bench in Madison, he did all that, helping lead his team to a 20-15-1 record. But when the Chicago Blackhawks came calling, asking Granato to leave his alma mater and brother’s side, it was tough for him to say no to his hometown NHL team.
The Blackhawks are considered to be one of the premier organizations in the NHL, having won three Stanley Cups since 2010. After the Blackhawks were swept in the first round of the playoffs this year, there were some changes to be made behind the bench in Chicago. With Granato’s experience coaching with Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville as part of the St. Louis Blues staff in 2005-2006, he was on the short list for replacements.
While disappointing news for the Badgers, this move should not come as a huge surprise.
“We came here with three head coaches, and there’s only one head coach on the bench,” said Tony Granato in a release. “My intention is to be here a long, long time. Donny [Granato] and [assistant coach Mark Osiecki] are in another position.”
As for what the coaching staff will look like in the future, it is clear that head coach Tony Granato has no intention on leaving anytime soon. Assistant Mark Osiecki, widely thought of as a top tier defensive coach, may leave to pursue an NHL job at some point. For now, Tony Granato has a list of candidates to replace his brother, who in just one year helped return Wisconsin hockey to national prominence.