Coaching Staff in Place for 2018 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
For the first time since 1994, the 2018 Olympic hockey teams will not have current NHL players as the stakeholders could not reach an agreement . While it’s possible that some NHL players who aren’t signed with a team or players from other professional leagues will play, the bulk of the roster is likely to be made up of college players as was the case before NHL players took to the ice in the 1998 games.
So it makes sense that USA Hockey delved into the college ranks for the Olympic team’s management and coaching staff. University of Wisconsin hockey coach Tony Granato was named head coach. Granato also played college hockey at Wisconsin, and played in the NHL from the 1988-89 season through 2000-01. He played on the 1988 Olympic team, and has coaching experience at several levels including the NHL. One of his assistant coaches will be Chris Chelios, another former Wisconsin player. Chelios went on to play for what seemed like about 70 years in the NHL. (In keeping with the Wisconsin theme, team general manager Jim Johannson is another former Wisconsin player).
Yale head coach Keith Allain, former Buffalo Sabres coach Ron Rolston, who has several years of college coaching experience, and former Boston University assistant Scott Young, who played several years in the NHL and is now an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, round out the staff. When college players were used in the past, coaches would take about a year off their regular gigs to coach organize and coach the teams. They will now only miss a handful of games as the teams won’t go through such a lengthy preparation.
And we can’t talk about college players and Olympic hockey without a nod to that great gold medal winning hockey team at Lake Placid in 1980:
The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang South Korea on February 9th-25th.