Blackhawks Coach Profile: Rikard Grönborg
Hello Blackhawk Up fans, it's been a little while since I've been able to sit in the writer's chair again, but here I am! Frankly, I've lost count of the amount of coaches we have written on for this series, which just goes to show you more than anything that the Blackhawks desperately need a new coach and anyone for almost any argument could be a good fit. If you have not yet already checked out the other articles on coaching candidates, please do so. I am going to recall from memory, and I am using the honor system here. I am not looking it up, I promise you. Here we go: Rick Tocchet, Claude Julien, Brent Seabrook, Barry Trotz, Bruce Boudreau, Paul Maurice, Joel Quenneville, Mike Babcock, and Jim Montgomery. It is possible there is one more or one fewer, but this is what my memory spat out at me. It's a pretty good list and I plan to do a "look-back" article at some point where I will rank my top coach candidates.
Regardless, today we will tackle briefly another candidate: Swedish coach, Rikard Grönborg. Grönborg started his hockey career at St. Cloud State University and then returned to Sweden to play professional hockey there. He was a defenseman and played for two seasons.
After a short playing career, Grönborg started coaching back at his alma mater, St. Cloud State where he served as an assistant coach. He also spent time coaching in some capacity at University of Wisconsin-Stout, Great Falls American, Central Texas, and Spokane for the first ten seasons of his career. Afterwards, he served primarily as a coach of various national teams for Sweden: several "under-18" and "under-20" World Junior Championships as well as the IIHF World Championship, which his team won the gold medal for in 2017.
Currently he coaches for the Zurich Lions, where they have a youth development program. Grönborg is very involved with that development program, and thus has experience developing young players. That sounds like something that would be perfect for a rebuild. Addtionally, he would have some interesting insight when it comes to the draft as well, since many players are drafted out of the Zurich team, Auston Matthews is one of those players of note that were drafted out of the Lions.
Admittedly, this is probably the coaching candidate I know the least about, but personally, he seems like he could be a very intriguing fit. He coaches almost exclusively young players in his history to success and therefore would be perfect for a young, rebuilding team. This especially if the Blackhawks find themselves parting ways with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. I don't know if I'd find Grönborg on the top of my list, but I certainly wouldn't write him off as a legitimate candidate. The most significant reason I would consider him is that many other teams have reportedly considered him for coaching openings. If everyone has taken a look, then he's worth pursuing. Maybe the Hawks will be the team to make the jump and actually hire him to the NHL.