By @MichaelCaples and @StefanKubus –
PLYMOUTH – A trio of Michigan connections will be heading to Pyeongchang in 2018 to coach the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team.
Tony Granato, currently with the University of Wisconsin and formerly with the Red Wings as an assistant, was officially named head coach of the next Olympic team Friday morning at USA Hockey Arena.
“As you might expect, I’m unbelievably honored to be up here today as the new U.S. Olympic hockey coach,” Granato said to start his press conference.
Assisting him will be former Red Wings Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios, Fenton native and Michigan Tech alum Ron Rolston, Keith Allain and former NHLer Scott Young.
The problem with Chris is, and we joked about this at dinner last night, is that probably right now he’s skating somewhere thinking we’re asking him to play as well,” Granato joked. “He’s probably going to apply for the player assistant coaching position, for all of us that know Chris.”
“And I’m probably not lying.”
The new staff has the full support of USA Hockey.
“We’re thrilled to have such an experienced group leading our men’s Olympic team,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “These individuals have been a part of some significant moments in USA Hockey history, from winning championships as players to building gold medal-winning teams as staff members.”
Jim Johannsson, USA Hockey’s assistant executive director of hockey operations, has been named the team’s general manager, while Ben Smith will serve as director of player personnel.
“The experience, passion and success our management and coaching staff have between them ensure that we’ll have a team well prepared to win gold in PyeongChang,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey.