Wisconsin officially announced Wednesday Tony Granato will be the next head coach of the men’s hockey program. His staff will include two former Minnesota boys’ hockey state tournament champions Mark Osiecki and Don Granato as associate head coaches.
Osiecki, a Burnsville, Minn., native, and Don Granato won the 1985 state tournament together at Burnsville.
All three coaches are Wisconsin alums.
"It was more than I could dream for to get all three of those guys," said Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez in a press release. "To me, it's the Dream Team.”
Alvarez fired long-time coach Mike Eaves on March 18 after two of the worst seasons in Wisconsin hockey history.
Tony Granato comes from the NHL, where he is currently an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings. He has spent the last 14 years in the NHL as a head coach or assistant, following his 13-year career in the NHL.
Osiecki briefly played one season with the North Stars during his six-year professional career. He was also the head coach at Ohio State from 2010-2013 after spending six years as a Wisconsin assistant. He started his college coaching career at North Dakota in 1996.
Osiecki coached the 2015 U.S. World Junior Team with Don Granato serving as an assistant.
Don is Tony's younger brother and spent the last two years as a coach in the U.S. National Team Developmental Program.
“I look at it as working with two outstanding people. We're in for the right reasons and we want to make Wisconsin hockey go,” Osiecki said. “That's the only thing that we're looking it."
The release chronicled how the trio came together long ago and built a bond in Minnesota:
Don Granato and Osiecki have known each other since the mid-1980s when they met at a summer hockey camp. They later played at Burnsville (Minn.) High school for Osiecki's father, Tom, and won a NCAA title with the Badgers in 1990.
Osiecki said he met Tony in 1985 and was smitten on multiple fronts.
"I wanted to be a Badger when Tony came and skated with us my junior year in high school," Osiecki said. "Tony comes in and skates with us and has a Badger hockey bag and wore all the gear. I wanted to be a Badger from that day on."
Osiecki and Tony Granato share a love of fishing — their families have cabins near Eagle River — hockey and coaching.
"I consider the Granato family an extended family of mine," Osiecki said. "It feels very, very comfortable."
Osiecki suggested he would manage the defensemen while Don Granato would handle the forwards.