The Buffalo Sabers have extended head coach Don Granato for a multi-year extension, according to the team.
« Don’s passion for the game and his leadership qualities have been evident from the moment we met, » Sabers general manager Kevyn Adams said. « He’s someone the players have huge respect for, and he’s dedicated to improving every individual in the team.
« Don’s mentality of ‘winning it’ resonates throughout the team – it’s more than just a mindset, it’s a driving force for our players and staff. I appreciate his thoughtfulness when it’s about developing our players and the open communication we can have about the team.I’m happy to extend Don’s contract, keeping him in Western New York for many years to come.
Granato has served as the Sabers’ head coach since March 2021, when he replaced former head coach Ralph Krueger after he was fired in a 6-18-4 start in the 2020-21 season. Granto did not significantly improve their situation during this lost season, posting a 9-16-3 record for the rest of this season, but he made great progress with the club in 2021-22, where the Sabers went 32-39-11 and finished fifth in the Atlantic Division.
« He makes sure you’re confident, » Sabers defenseman Rasmus Dahlin said last May. “He pushes you. He wants every guy to succeed there. You really feel that he supports you.
Granato had NHL coaching experience as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues in 2005-2006, the Chicago Blackhawks from 2017-2019, and then the Sabers from 2019 until he became head coach. He also has head coaching experience in the USHL, ECHL and AHL, and spent time as a scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks.
« Me and Donny had a lot of discussions about the prospects for my long-term future and we both felt I was going to be a great player in this league, » Sabers forward Tage Thompson said. “The most important thing was that it happened now. It’s something I took to heart because I wanted to make a difference for this team. He gave me the opportunity and the ice time, so it was up to me to take the opportunity. I am very grateful for this opportunity.
The Sabers also extended GM Adams for a multi-year extension on Sept. 21, so they now have both their head coach and general manager locked in long term. Adams has been with the Sabers organization since 2009, serving as development coach, assistant coach, manager and senior vice president of business administration at various times before taking over as general manager in 2020 -21.