Introducing The U.S. Olympic Hockey Coaching Staff

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins

By Jacob Messing

The reality of a 2018 Winter Olympics without NHL players is sinking in after the recent announcement of the U.S. men’s national team’s coaching staff.

Last week, the brass for the United States named its coaches for the upcoming international tournament, starting with Wisconsin Badgers head coach Tony Granato, who will serve in the same role for Team USA.

Chris Chelios, Ron Rolston, Keith Allain, and Scott Young will join Granato behind the bench this coming February in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

While the upcoming games will be the first without NHL participation since 1994, the coaches are no strangers to the enlarged ice and altered rules of international play.

USA Hockey officials have already stated their optimism for the team, even without the large base of NHL players from which they usually have to draw.

Part of that optimism stems from the plethora of players ready to prove themselves as NHL-ready talent when they represent the US on the world's biggest stage.

Another part is the impeccable resumes of its coaching staff. Each coach has shown the ability to get through to young players and get them to buy into their systems. Their strong careers will immediately earn them the respect of their Olympic team and they are largely known for their solid communication and mutual respect in return.

The winning pedigree and combined experience of Team USA’s coaches will help push the U.S. team as it competes for its first Olympic medal since 2010 and first Olympic gold since the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team.


This will be the first time Granato has been handed the head coaching position on the world stage, but he gained valuable experience as an assistant with Team USA at the 2014 Olympic Games.

The Downers Grove, Illinois, native also played for Team USA seven times, including the 1988 Olympics, 1991 Canada Cup, three IIHF World Championships (1985, 1986, and 1987) and two IIHF World Championships (1983 and 1984).


Chelios, another Illinois native, will be behind the bench for just the second time. He was an assistant coach for the bronze-winning 2016 U.S. national junior team. The three-time Stanley Cup champion played in four Olympic Games (1984, 1988, 2002, and 2006) before retiring in 2010.


While Rolston will be making just his first appearance as an Olympic coach, he previously served seven seasons as head coach for USA Hockey’s National Development team from 2004-11. The Fenton, Michigan, native led the U.S. to three gold medals (2005, 2009, and 2011) and a silver medal (2007) at the IIHF U-18 World Championship.


Allain will be behind the bench for the third time after serving as an Olympic assistant in 1992 and 2006. He coached the U.S. national junior team three times (2001, 2002, and 2011), served as an assistant for the 1996 World Cup of Hockey championship team (which earned him a place in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame), and two U.S. national teams (2005 and 2006).


Young, the recently named director of player development for the Pittsburgh Penguins, will be behind the bench for the first time on the international stage. However, he has represented the USA 10 times as a player. Young has played in the three Olympic Games (1988, 1992, and 2002) and is set to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame later this year.

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @JMessing23.

High And Wide: Washington, Wild, and Woeful Starts

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By Jacob Messing

The overhauled Arizona Coyotes remain winless through five games, the Buffalo Sabres grab their first win, three Washington Capitals sit atop the scoring race, and the Erik Karlsson-less Ottawa Senators have grabbed at least a point in all five games.

Bauer Motown Classic Brings Future NHL Talent To Detroit

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By Jacob Messing

The Furious Return Of Alex Ovechkin

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By Jacob Messing

High And Wide: Hot Starts, Hat Tricks, And Humbled Champs

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By Jacob Messing

Winnipeg Jets One Piece Away From Flight

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By Jacob Messing

The Atlanta Thrashers joined the NHL as an expansion team in 1999, and the journey to a serious postseason run has been anything but smooth. In 16 seasons, the organization has relocated, played eight playoff games, won zero, and morphed into the Winnipeg Jets, all while struggling to balance offense, defense, and goaltending.

UNLV Hockey Assistant Coach Injured In Las Vegas Attack

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UNLV hockey assistant coach Nick Robone was shot in the chest on Sunday night during the mass shooting in Las Vegas, which left 59 dead and over 500 injured. The 28-year-old was immediately hospitalized and is expected to make a full recovery after a successful surgery. 

20 Predictions For The 2017-18 NHL Season

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By Jacob Messing

It’s finally October, and with the new NHL season set to start on Wednesday predictions are flying all over the place. It’s just a part of coverage, like toothless smiles and trash talk are apart of the game.

Players Question Rule Changes -- And They Have A Point

© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports NHL: New Jersey Devils at Detroit Red Wings

By Jacob Messing

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg got straight to the point when asked about the NHL’s new rules.

“It's slowing down the game; it's almost mocking the game,” Zetterberg told MLive’s Ansar Khan.

St. Louis Blues And Other NHL Teams Fight Through Early-Season Injuries

© Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports NHL: St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild

By Jacob Messing

With the puck set to drop October 4 for the new NHL season, a handful of injuries suffered during the preseason may hinder some teams getting off to a hot start.

'If You Ain't First, You're Last': Erie Otters Take Step Back In OHL

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By Jacob Messing

A historic Erie Otters season ended suddenly in late May when host Windsor defeated the regular season champions 4-3 for the Memorial Cup, given to the winner of a four-team tournament played