On Monday (June 27), the Chicago Blackhawks announced that Luke Richardson would be named as the Original Six franchise’s 40th head coach. Richardson, 53, grew up in Ottawa but has extensive family ties to Shawville and served at the assistant coach of the Montreal Canadiens for the past four seasons (2018-2022). The Blackhawks held a press conference on June 29 to welcome him to the organization.
Richardson had nearly a decade of high-level coaching experience prior to his stint with the Habs, as an assistant coach for the Ottawa Senators and the New York Islanders, as well four years as the head coach of the AHL franchise the Binghampton Senators.
A 21-year veteran defenceman in the NHL from 1987 to 2009, Richardson suited up for a variety of teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers. He won a gold and silver medal with team Canada at the IIHF World Championships in 1994 and 1996 respectively, and later coached the national squad to victory in the 2016 Spengler Cup.
Coincidentally, in Richardson’s NHL debut with the Maple Leafs back in 1987, they played against the Blackhawks in Chicago. He spoke about not being prepared for the famously deafening national anthem tradition.
“We are excited having a seasoned coach like Luke join the organization as head coach,” said General Manager Kyle Davidson in a press release. “Luke shares our vision and goals for the future, and he will have an opportunity to build an environment and culture of high-performance, hard work and high accountability. Throughout the interview process, it became evident that he not only had every quality we were looking for in a head coach, but also is a high-character individual that was perfect to lead this next era of the Chicago Blackhawks.”
Richardson and his family are also well known in the area for their work advocating for youth mental health care through the “Do it for Daron” campaign, named for Richardson’s late daughter who took her own life in 2010 at the age of 14. He spoke about continuing this advocacy in Ottawa and the other places where he’s coached.
A link to the full press conference is available here.