Richardson accepts challenge of coaching Blackhawks
By: Mike Stiles - Thursday, June 30, 2022

(photo courtesy of Chicago Blackhawks)

(CHICAGO) – The Chicago Blackhawks were one of the NHL's worst teams last season, and their general manager is talking about a potentially long rebuilding process. They are listening to trade offers for their top goal scorer, and the situation at goaltender is murky at best. Enter Luke Richardson who will be the 40th coach in franchise history. The former NHL defenseman takes over a team in transition under GM Kyle Davidson, one that has fallen on hard times since it won the franchise's sixth Stanley Cup championship in 2015. Davidson has made no secret of his plan to remake the roster, and Richardson acknowledged the difficult road ahead when he was formally introduced Wednesday at the team store in downtown Chicago. The 53 year old Richardson played for 6 NHL teams in a 21 year career. He finished with 35 goals and 166 assists in 1,417 games, including his debut with Toronto at Chicago Stadium on Oct. 8, 1987. He retired during the 2008-09 season and joined Ottawa's coaching staff. He was the head coach for the Senators' AHL affiliate from 2012 to 2016. Richardson was an assistant on Montreal's coaching staff for the previous four seasons. When Dominique Ducharme was diagnosed with COVID-19 during the 2021 playoffs, Richardson took over as coach for six games and helped lead the Canadiens to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1993. Richardson is stepping in for Derek King, who finished the season as the interim coach after Jeremy Colliton was fired on Nov. 6. With Richardson in place, the Blackhawks' focus shifts to next week's draft and free agency. Richardson also needs to fill out his first staff as a head coach in the NHL. While Chicago isn't expected to contend next season, it will be one of the league's most closely watched teams this summer. Captain Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat each have one year left on their contracts after the Blackhawks went 28-42-12 this year.