Blackhawks to hire Luke Richardson as new head coach


The Chicago Blackhawks are expected to name Luke Richardson the 40th head coach in franchise history according to reports. Frank Seravalli was the first to report the news. In Richardson, Kyle Davidson and the Blackhawks get a former NHL player who played 21 seasons and over 1,400 games before beginning his coaching career. Richardson has 12 years of coaching experience under his belt between the AHL and NHL, but this will be his first NHL head coaching job.

As a player, Richardson was the seventh overall pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1987, one pick ahead of the Blackhawks, who drafted Jimmy Waite—the team’s current goaltending coach—eighth overall. For his career, Richardson spent five seasons with Toronto, six with Edmonton, five Philadelphia, three with Columbus and one with Tampa Bay before finishing out his last two years with the Ottawa Senators. After retiring with Ottawa following the 2008–09 season, he joined their NHL coaching staff under Cory Clouston in 2009–10. Richardson was an assistant with the NHL club for three season before becoming the head coach of the Binghamton Senators of the AHL.

With Binghamton, Richardson coached future NHL star Mark Stone for two seasons from age 20 to 22 before Stone joined the Senators full time. Richardson also coached future NHL players in Ben Bishop, Cody Ceci, Jared Cowen, Andrew Hammond, Mike Hoffman, Robin Lehner and Jakob Silfverberg.

After four seasons in the AHL, Richardson left the Senators organization and joined the New York Islanders for one season as an assistant coach. After his lone season in New York, Richardson joined the Montreal Canadiens under Claude Julien. He finished last season as an assistant under Martin St. Louis.

Richardson also has one season international coaching experience, as in 2016–17, he served as an assistant for Team Canada at the Deutschland Cup before leading Team Canada at the Spengler Cup.

While this will be Richardson’s first stint as an NHL head coach, Scott Powers of The Athletic got this feedback on Richardson: “Coaching-wise, he’s a teacher and a great human,” a league source said. “I love the guy.”

Yahoo’s Arun Srinivasan got this feedback on Richardson: “Richardson has been lauded by his players as a calming influence behind the bench with a cerebral understanding of the game and excellent communication skills.”

On paper, while similar to Derek King as a former long-time NHL player, this hire seems to be the right fit for the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are going to need a teacher with so many younger players expecting to be given chances to develop at the NHL level as the Blackhawks look to rebuild.


With the hiring of Richardson, former interim head coach Derek King is being told that he can explore other coaching opportunities, however, the Blackhawks are open to King joining the NHL staff if both King and Richardson can agree on it.

Front office promotions 

In addition to the hiring of Richardson, Davidson also finalized his front office staff earlier this week. Mark Eaton will remain as assistant general manager of development, while Meghan Hunter has been promoted to assistant general manager of hockey operations, Karilyn Pilch has been promoted to director of player personnel and Brian Campbell will stay on as a hockey operations advisor.

Hunter’s promotion is particularly noteworthy, as she is the fourth female assistant general manager in NHL history.

Stay tuned to The Rink for more Blackhawks news.

Center Ice Forums Blackhawks to hire Luke Richardson as new head coach

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