Skip to main content

Granato to coach U.S. in 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

13-year NHL veteran coached Avalanche twice; Chelios, Young, Allain, Rolston named assistants

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

PLYMOUTH, Mich. -- Tony Granato will coach the United States men's ice hockey team at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, USA Hockey announced Friday.

The Olympics will be held Feb. 9-25.

"When USA Hockey asks if you'd like to be part of an Olympic staff, a national team staff, you're there," Granato said. "That's what shows how special these events and tournaments mean to those lucky enough to play in them. I've experienced a lot through the game of hockey and there's nothing better than to walk into an Olympic village, to walk into an Olympic arena, to walk into an opening ceremony and to have your colors and represent your country."

Jim Johansson, who will be the general manager, said Granato was his first choice as coach.

"For me, Tony made the most sense for a whole lot of reasons," he said.

Granato will be assisted in South Korea by Chris Chelios, Scott Young, Keith Allain and Ron Rolston. Ben Smith will be the director of player personnel.

Johansson, who played at the University of Wisconsin with Granato and Chelios, said what stood out was the competitiveness of the staff assembled.

"These guys are all great competitors," he said. "Tony is one of the best competitors I ever played with. Chris Chelios' career speaks for itself. Scott Young very quietly was one of the best competitors to ever put the USA jersey on. I know they're going to instill that in the players that we get. I also know they're going to have the ultimate respect the players are giving us."

NHL players are not eligible to play in the 2018 Olympics.

The roster is expected to be comprised of Europe-based players, as well as those eligible from the American Hockey League. NCAA players also will be considered.

An early test will come at the Deutschland Cup, to be held in Augsburg, Germany, from Nov. 10-12, and include primarily Europe-based players. Johansson said he expected the goaltenders to be Ryan Zapolski, who plays for Jokerit in the Kontinental Hockey League, and David Leggio, who plays for EHC Red Bull Munchen in Germany.

"There's players playing internationally, there's world-class Americans playing all over the world," Granato said. "And we're looking forward to finding the best 25 that will represent our country with pride, passion and energy. I think we can be a real competitive team with how we skate. There's plenty of skilled payers that will allow us to compete with the world's best."

Granato, 53, is entering his second season as coach at the University of Wisconsin. He had two stints as coach of the Colorado Avalanche (2002-04, 2008-09) and was an assistant with the Avalanche, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.

As a player, Granato was second in scoring for the United States at the 1988 Calgary Olympics with eight points (one goal, seven assists) on a team that finished eighth.

Granato played 13 NHL seasons with the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks.

Chelios, 55, has been an assistant coach with the Red Wings since 2015. He played for the United States four times at the Olympics (1984, 1998, 2002, 2006). He was the captain and helped the United States win the silver medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

In his 26-season NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Red Wings and Atlanta Thrashers, Chelios played 1,651 games, most among NHL defensemen and sixth all-time, and won the Stanley Cup three times (1986, 2002, 2008). He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.

Young, 49, was hired as director of player development of the Penguins on July 28. He spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach at Boston University.

He was a teammate of Granato on the 1988 Olympic team and also played in the Olympics in 1992 and 2002.

Young played 1,181 games in 17 NHL seasons with seven teams. He won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 1991 and the Avalanche in 1996.

Allain, 58, is going into his 12th season as the coach at Yale University. He was an assistant coach for the United States at the 1992 and 2006 Olympics.

Rolston, 50, served as coach of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program from 2004-11, and coached the Buffalo Sabres for two seasons.

Johansson, 53, has been with USA Hockey since 2000, and since 2007 has been assistant executive director of hockey operations. He also played for the United States at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics. He has been the GM of the U.S. World Junior Championship team the past eight years, and won the gold medal in 2010, 2013 and 2017. Johansson said his role involving the 2018 WJC will not change.

Smith, 71, works with USA Hockey in player evaluation. He was an assistant on the 1988 Olympic team and coached the U.S. women's team at the Olympics in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.