After months of deliberation, the Chicago Blackhawks finally have their man for the job. This morning it was reported that Assistant Coach of the Montreal Canadiens Luke Richardson is close to finalizing a contract to become the 40th head coach in Blackhawks history. The veteran coach and former 7th overall pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs will finally get his chance to lead an NHL squad. Details are fluid at the moment.
Hearing Luke Richardson will be the next head coach of the Chicago #Blackhawks.
Sources say Richardson and the Hawks are putting the final touches on a contract.
Quite the resume for Richardson, who played 1400+ NHL games, 8 years as NHL assistant, 4 years as AHL head coach.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 24, 2022
The other day I touched on the possibility of the Blackhawks hiring Richardson as their next head coach. He fit the bill and checked the boxes Kyle Davidson and Co. were looking for.
The veteran defenseman comes into the organization with 22 years of NHL playing experience, boasting 201 points and an impressive 2,055 penalty minutes over 1,417 games.
On top of his playing experience, Richardson has spent the better part of the last 12 years coaching around the NHL.
From 2009-2012 he was an Assistant to both Cory Clouston and Paul MacLean in Ottawa. His efforts did not go unnoticed, as he was named the Head Coach of Ottawa’s AHL affiliate The Binghamton Senators from 2013-2016. He led his team to two playoff appearances while posting a record of 153-120-31 over that time.
After leaving the Binghamton Sens in 2016, Richardson found a home as an Assistant on the New York Islanders bench in 2017. That summer he had been in talks for the head coaching position of the Anaheim Ducks, but eventually lost out to Randy Carlyle.
After an underwhelming season with the Islanders, Richardson found a new spot in Montreal. Here he would spend his longest tenure as an Assistant, serving under Stanley Cup-winning Coach Claude Julien and 2021 Stanley Cup finalist Dominique Ducharme. The Habs would go on to lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the bubble that year.
In 2016 Richardson was named Assistant Coach to Team Canada in the 2016 Deutschland where they would eventually lose in the finals against Team Slovakia. He served under Dave King that summer.
The tides would turn later that year when Richardson was named Head Coach of Team Canada in the Spengler Cup. Richardson and Co. would go on to win the tournament, giving Canada its 14th title overall and second of three straight.
The New Bench Boss
Blackhawks fans should be excited for what is to come. Richardson’s coaching experience is expansive, but his playing career is what makes him stand out among the rest. He not only knows how an NHL locker room works, he knows how to be a leader. The former NHL captain finally has his opportunity to lead a big league franchise and will not be taking it for granted.
Here’s to hoping his ferocious play is contagious inside the Hawks locker room and another banner being raised to the rafters in the years to come!