The expected news became official on Thursday, as Ulf Samuelsson and Don Granato were named Blackhawks assistant coaches.
Samuelsson, a former teammate of coach Joel Quenneville and assistant coach Kevin Dineen with the Hartford Whalers, was head coach of the Charlotte Checkers (the Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate) last season.
“This is a great opportunity to join a franchise that not only is historically popular, but has also had a lot of great success recently,” said Samuelsson in a statement. “I’m thankful to Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough, Stan Bowman and the entire leadership group with the Blackhawks for this opportunity. I would also like to express my appreciation to the Carolina Hurricanes, Ron Francis and the Charlotte Checkers for my time with the organization.”
General manager Stan Bowman said in a statement that, “Ulf brings over 20 years of NHL experience and knows what it takes to be a Stanley Cup champion. Don has an extensive coaching background and has been successful at developing players at every level. Both have the leadership skills and experience to complement our staff.”
Last season Granato served as the University of Wisconsin hockey team’s associate coach to his brother Tony, the Badgers’ head coach. Granato was also an assistant coach for the St. Louis Blues during the 2005-06 season. Prior to that Donato was coach of then-Blues minor-league affiliate Worcester IceCats (2000-05), where he worked with Quenneville as part of the St. Louis organization.
"Joel has been very influential and inspirational to my coaching career and to be back with him in a greater capacity is an exceptional opportunity,” Granato said in a statement. “I’m happy to be back in Chicago, however, it is the challenge of the Blackhawks mandate of future success that motivates me most.”