Wisconsin will have a significant presence in building and shaping the USA hockey team for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.
On Friday, it was announced that current Wisconsin coach Tony Granato would head the team, while former Badgers and NHL defenseman Chris Chelios would be among his assistant coaches. Also, the general manager of the team, Jim Johannson, played for Wisconsin in the early 1980s.
“What you feel is honored,” Granato told UWBadgers.com. “You feel how lucky you are that the sport of hockey has given you these opportunities. You feel pride in your country and in your sport.”
Granato had a very good first season in charge of the Badgers. The team won eight more games than the previous two years combined and finished second in the Big Ten. Before coming back to Madison in April of 2016, Granato had spent 14 years as a player in the NHL and then another 14 as a coach.
Chelios will join Granato as an assistant. The former Wisconsin star spent 27 years in the NHL before officially retiring in 2010. Chelios spent time as part of the Detroit Red Wings front office after his retirement and the last two years as an assistant with the team.
Tasked with building the team is Johannson, who has served as part of the USA Hockey staff since 2000.