On Monday night before Game Three of the Stanley Cup Final, ESPN’s Kevin Weekes tweeted that the Blackhawks were hiring Calgary Flames assistant coach Ryan Huska as their next head coach. Weekes has subsequently deleted the tweet.
Our sources indicate the Blackhawks are indeed interested in Huska and he is on their list, but they have not made an offer — yet.
Huska, who turns 47 on July 2, was drafted by the Blackhawks in the third round (No. 76 overall) of the 1993 NHL Draft (14 spots before the Hawks selected Eric Daze). He appeared in one NHL game for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1997-98 season and finished his playing career in the AHL in 2000.
He has been an assistant coach in Calgary for the past four years but has a long coaching track record that lines up with the resume we want from the Blackhawks’ next head coach.
Huska spent five years as an assistant coach with the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL before serving as their head coach from 2007-08 through 2013-14. He led the Rockets to a WHL championship in 2008-09.
Former Blackhawks defenseman Madison Bowey was on the roster in Kelowna in Huska’s final season. The championship team Huska coached was led by future NHL stars Jamie Benn, Tyson Barrie and Tyler Myers. Some of the other future NHL players to skate for Huska in Kelowna include Damon Severson, Colton Sissons, Luke Schenn, Blake Comeau and Alexander Edler.
Following 12 years in the WHL, Huska moved on to serve as the head coach of the Flames’ AHL affiliate for four years before joining the bench in Calgary before the 2018-19 season.
Again: the Blackhawks have not made a decision on their next head coach yet. But Huska’s name is on their list, and his resume is impressive.
Update: Weekes has since tweeted a retraction.