July 15, 2024

Grant Potulny was hired by the New York Rangers on Thursday as the new head coach of their AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. Potulny recently left his position as head coach of Northern Michigan University, where he had a record of 128-113-17 over seven seasons, to pursue opportunities in professional hockey. NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman had previously reported that Potulny was the likely candidate for the Wolf Pack position.

During his tenure at NMU, Potulny achieved four 20-win seasons. Before that, he spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota, contributing to six regular-season titles and five NCAA tournament appearances. At 44, Potulny follows Kris Knoblauch, who was the previous young coach to take on his first professional head coaching role with the Wolf Pack. Knoblauch, who recently led the Edmonton Oilers to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, was head coach of the Wolf Pack from the 2019-20 season, compiling a record of 112-87-31 with one playoff appearance before joining the Oilers in November.

Grand Forks native Grant Potulny leaving Northern Michigan for pro  opportunity - Grand Forks Herald | Grand Forks, East Grand Forks news,  weather & sports

After Knoblauch’s departure, Steve Smith served as interim head coach and led the Wolf Pack to the Atlantic Division Final, where they were swept by the Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears.

A native of North Dakota, Potulny has also been part of Team USA’s coaching staff for various international tournaments, including the World Junior Championships in 2013, 2017, 2018, and 2022, helping the team secure gold medals in 2013 and 2017 and a bronze medal in 2018.

Potulny, who was drafted 157th overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2000 NHL Draft, played six seasons in the AHL, recording 145 points (73 goals, 72 assists) in 290 games. He is now the eighth head coach in Wolf Pack history.

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