GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 07:  Assistant coach Tony Granato and head coach Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings on the bench during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on February 7, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Red Wings defeated the Coyotes 3-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

REPORT: Badgers set to hire Tony Granato as next men’s hockey head coach

After two of the worst years in Wisconsin men’s hockey history, Mike Eaves was not retained and a national search for a new head coach began. According to reports, that search is coming to an end with the hire of Badgers legend Tony Granato as the next head coach:

Granato, a two-time second-team All-American as a player for the Badgers from 1983 to ’87, will replace Eaves after 14 seasons at the helm of the program. He scored 100 goals in 151 games during his time in Madison, and was a finalist for the 1987 Hobey Baker Award given to the best college hockey player in America.

It is an interesting hire, as Granato has spent all of his coaching career at the NHL level, including two stints as the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. He began coaching in 2002 after a long career as a player in for the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks.

Granato was an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings for the past two seasons.

Perhaps the biggest help to Granato is the reported hire of two key assistant coaches — his brother Don and former UW assistant coach, Ohio State head coach and Green Bay Gamblers head coach, Mark Osiecki.

The duo are both former UW assistants, and both are hooked in well to the youth level of hockey, as Don Granato is the current USNDT U-18 coach and Osiecki has spent plenty of years recruiting at the college level.

It’s one of the most talented group of coaches Wisconsin has put together on one staff, but a needed one given the elder Granato’s lack of experience coaching on the collegiate level.

With the Badgers winning just 12 games over the past two seasons, it’s a staff that will have a major rebuilding job on its hands. It also will have some nice players to work with in forwards Grant Besse and Luke Kunin, assuming Besse sticks around as he was a 5th round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2013 and is eligible to make the move at any point now.

The Badgers will also only three seniors in Eddie Wittchow, Kevin Schulze and Adam Miller.

UW will be adding Jere Astren (D), Tarek Barker (C), Matthew Berkovitz (D), Jack Berry (G),Trent Frederic (C), Dan Labonsky (LW), Adam Parsells (D), Martin Sundberg (RW) and Max Zimmer (LW) per College Hockey Inc.

Five of those players signed national letters of intent this past season — Dan Laboski of Edina, Minnesota; Martin Sundberg of Linkoping, Sweden and Max Zimmer of Medina, Minnesota; along with defensemen Tony Stillwell of Green Bay and Jere Astren of Helsinki, Finland.

The Granato’s should be very familiar with Frederic, as he is a member of the U-18 squad Don is currently coaching.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com

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