Granato Named U.S. Olympic Coach; Allain to Assist
CHN Staff Report
Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato has been named head coach for Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, it was announced today by USA Hockey.
His assistants will be Yale head coach Keith Allain, long-time NHL defenseman Chris Chelios, Michigan Tech alum Ron Rolston, and Boston University alum Scott Young, who recently left the BU coaching staff to take a position with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Granato and Young were teammates on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team. Chelios played in 1984, and played with Granato on the 1991 U.S. Canada Cup team.
“I’m honored and humbled to be able to represent the U.S. on the Olympic stage," Granato said. “There's no greater thrill in the game of hockey than to be able to cheer for, represent, wear the sweater and wear the colors."
The big question is who will be part of the team for this Olympics. The NHL has decided not to send its players to the Olympics this time around, opening the door for a variety of possibilities. According to Jim Johansson, another Wisconsin alum and two-time Olympian and now general manager for Team USA, the team is likely to include a number of pros now playing in Europe, with some that are currently in the NCAA and probably North American minor pros.
Granato says he'll miss just four Badgers games this season, two in November while tryouts are taking place and two during the games themselves. Allain will miss six Yale games.
The last time there were current NCAA players in the Olympics was 1994. Starting in 1998, the NHL paused its season and sent its players to the Olympics to represent the various countries.
When Olympians were mainly amateurs, they would convene a team and play together for one year in preparation for the Olympics. That won't be the case this time around.
Granato was named head coach of the Badgers before last season and went 20-15-1. He has also been a head coach in the NHL.
Allain is 205-129-38 as head coach at Yale since taking over in 2006. He led Yale to the national championship in 2013 and has made six NCAA tournament appearances. He has also been a head coach for Team USA at the World Junior championships and an assistant in the NHL.