ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Former Worcester IceCats coach Don Granato has been named head coach at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, it was announced Monday.
Granato, as one of two head coaches at the NTDP, will guide the U.S. National Under-17 team during the 2011-12 season.
“Don will be a terrific mentor to the best young players in our country," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. "He's excited about the opportunity and we're very pleased to have him at the NTDP."
Granato's coaching career began in 1993 when he was named interim coach of the USHL's Madison Capitals. He went on to become the first-ever head coach and general manager of the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers for three seasons (1994-97), where he led the Gamblers to Anderson Cup titles as the USHL regular-season champion on two occasions (1996, 1997) and helped the franchise capture its first Clark Cup as the league's playoff champion.
Granato, the brother of Hockey Hall of Famer Cammi Granato, spent 2000-05 as head coach of the Worcester IceCats, the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. During that span, he became the winningest coach in franchise history with a 191-130-45-14 record, while leading the IceCats to the Calder Cup playoffs in four consecutive seasons (2000-04). Granato received the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award in 2001 as the AHL Coach of the Year.
Granato spent last season as a scout for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. Prior to the 2010-11 campaign, he served as head coach of the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers (2008-10), and was also an assistant coach for the NHL's St. Louis Blues (2005-06).
"I'm thrilled to be a part of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program," said Granato. "The NTDP is highly regarded in hockey circles not only in our country, but throughout the world. I look forward to the challenge of helping some of our most talented young players reach their full potential. In addition, my wife and I are excited to be part of the Ann Arbor community."
Granato replaces Ron Rolston, who spent seven seasons at the NTDP and was recently named coach of the AHL’s Rochester Americans.