(CBS) The Blackhawks have hired Ulf Samuelsson and Don Granato as assistant coaches, they announced Thursday.
The hirings come after Chicago general manager Stan Bowman fired assistant Mike Kitchen shortly after a season-ending loss to Nashville in the first round of the playoffs. Kitchen was a good friend and close confidante of coach Joel Quenneville.
Returning to the Blackhawks are assistant Kevin Dineen, goaltending coach Jimmy Waite and video coach Matt Meacham.
“The addition of Ulf and Don bolsters an already veteran coaching staff,” Bowman said in a statement. “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.”
The 53-year-old Samuelsson has a history with Quenneville, as they were teammates from 1984 to 1990 with the Hartford Whalers, which also included Dineen.
Samuelsson most recently was the head coach of the Charlotte Checks in the AHL. He was previously an NHL assistant with the Ranges and Coyotes.
“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,” Samuelsson said in a statement. “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.”
The 49-year-old Granato, a Downers Grove native, most recently was the associate head coach at the University of Wisconsin. He’s also previously served as the head coach in the U.S. national team developmental program and was an NHL assistant with the Blues in 2005-’06 before moving to the AHL.
“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.