Former NHL star and Chicago-area native Tony Granato will be the head coach for the United States’ men’s hockey team in the upcoming Winter Olympics, it was announced Friday.
Granato, who was born in Downer’s Grove, will lead a U.S. team that won a silver medal in Vancouver in 2010, but was held without a medal in the 2014 Games in Sochi.
"I'm honored and humbled to be able to represent the U.S. on the Olympic stage," Granato said in a statement. "There's no greater thrill in the game of hockey than to be able to cheer for, represent, wear the sweater, and wear the colors."
Granato will be joined on the bench by several giants of American hockey, including fellow Chicago-area native Chris Chelios. The former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman will serve as an assistant coach for the squad, along with Keith Allain, Ron Rolston, and Scott Young.
The 2018 Games will mark the first time since 1994 where the NHL will not take a break to participate, as the league was unable to come to an agreement with the IOC and the IIHF before its schedule came out earlier this summer. Professional players in the AHL ranks can still participate if they are not under NHL contracts, but the bulk of players will once again come from foreign leagues and the collegiate ranks.
The men’s tournament will get underway on Feb. 13 in South Korea, with the women’s tournament getting underway three days earlier.