The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have hired Ulf Samuelsson and Don Granato as assistant coaches. Samuelsson and Granato will join returning assistant coach Kevin Dineen, goaltending coach Jimmy Waite and video coach Matt Meacham on head coach Joel Quenneville's staff.
"The addition of Ulf and Don bolsters an already veteran coaching staff," said Bowman. "They will join Joel, Kevin, Jimmy and Matt to form a staff that I believe is the best in the NHL. 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."
Samuelsson, 53, was teammates with Quenneville from 1984 to 1990 when both were members of the Hartford Whalers. Samuelsson and Dineen were also teammates with the Whalers from 1984 to 1991.
"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. "To be on the bench with Joel, Kevin, Don, Jimmy and Matt is motivating and exciting as we work to attain the highest level of success. 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."
Samuelsson spent the 2016-17 season as head coach of the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. He led the club to a 39-29-7-1 record and a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs. He has experience coaching in the National Hockey League as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers (2013-16) and Phoenix Coyotes (2006-11).
The Fagersta, Sweden native played 16 seasons in the NHL for Hartford (1984-1991), Pittsburgh (1991-1995), the New York Rangers (1995-1999), Detroit (1999) and Philadelphia (1999-2000). He is a two-time Stanley Cup winner, winning with Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992. The defenseman played 1,080 career games with 57 goals and 275 assists. He tallied 2,453 career penalty minutes over his career which rank sixth all-time among blueliners. As a player, his teams made the Stanley Cup Playoffs 13 times and he played in a total of 132 playoff games, notching 34 points (7G, 27A).
A member of Sweden's 1998 Olympic team, Samuelsson also represented his native country in the 1985 and 1990 World Championships and the 1983 and 1984 World Junior Championships. Samuelsson has three sons: Philip, who is currently a defenseman in the Carolina Hurricanes system, Henrik, who is a forward in the Edmonton Oilers system and, Adam, who is currently with the U.S. National Team Development Program. His daughter, Victoria, is a forward on the Penn State University women's hockey team.
Granato is a native of Downers Grove, Ill. and most recently served as an associate head coach with the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team in 2016-17, helping the Badgers to a second-place finish in the Big Ten with an overall record of 20-15-1. Prior to his stop in Madison, Granato spent four years as a head coach with the U.S. National Team Development Program where he helped the U.S. Under-18 team capture the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship and coached the 2014 U.S. Under-17 National Team to a title at the World Hockey Challenge.
"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. "I'm happy to be back in Chicago, however, it is the challenge of the Blackhawks mandate of future success that motivates me most."
The 49-year old also has experience behind the bench in the National Hockey League and American Hockey League. He served as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues during the 2005-06 season, and was head coach for the Chicago Wolves (2008-10) and the Worcester IceCats (2000-05) where he worked with Quenneville as a part of the Blues organization. He received the AHL's Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the league's outstanding coach during his first season at the helm of Worcester.
He also coached three seasons in the ECHL with the Columbus Chill (1997-99) and Peoria Rivermen (1999-2000), following four seasons in the USHL with the Wisconsin Capitols (1993-94) and Green Bay Gamblers (1994-97), winning a championship at each level. He led Peoria to an ECHL Kelly Cup championship during the 1999-2000 campaign and claimed a USHL Clark Cup championship with Green Bay in 1995-96.
Before joining the coaching ranks, Granato played professionally for two seasons with Columbus (ECHL) from 1991 to 1993, posting 26 goals and 64 assists in 103 career games. He spent four seasons (1987-91) at the University of Wisconsin where he compiled 88 points (45G, 43A) in 162 career games and won a National Championship with the Badgers in 1990.