What will Sheldon Brookbank's role be as Blackhawks assistant coach?


The Blackhawks announced Friday that they have promoted Sheldon Brookbank to an assistant coach on Jeremy Colliton's staff after he had previously served in that same role for the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League since the 2017-18 season.

Brookbank, 38, was a part of Colliton's staff in Rockford, where he helped lead the IceHogs to their first-ever Western Conference Finals berth last season. He also won a Stanley Cup as a player with the Blackhawks in 2013, a roster that included current members Corey Crawford, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews.

"It's always been the plan," Colliton said. "I wanted Sheldon here from the beginning. [But we] had to stabilize Rockford, it's tough to lose two guys in a short time. Anders Sörensen has been able to be around more there and now able to take a bigger role, so that allowed us to get Sheldon here."

It's unclear what Brookbank's exact role will be, but his primary responsibilities in Rockford last year included working closely with the defensemen and penalty kill unit, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him assume those same duties in Chicago. For now, it'll be a tag-team approach.

The Blackhawks now have three assistant coaches in Brookbank, Don Granato and Barry Smith, but the plan is for Smith to oversee things from afar for the remainder of the season and will be transitioned back into his role as Director of Player Evaluation.

"I think it's always been the plan that eventually he'll move back to his previous role," Colliton said. "He's been here to help with the transition, help me get accustomed to the NHL level and he's been great. But not a long-term solution."

Replacing Brookbank with the IceHogs on interim coach Derek King's staff is Sörensen, who's in his fifth season as Chicago's development coach. His previous coaching experience includes being an assistant with the Swedish Hockey League's Södertälje from 2011-13 before serving as the interim head coach in October 2013.

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