Blackhawks make more changes to hockey operations staff

By Chris Block

Chicago Blackhawks Vice President and general manager Stan Bowman made several additions to his pro scouting staff recently.

As expected, Wade Brookbank has retired (again) and accepted a position as a pro scout for the Blackhawks.

A popular teammate inside the Rockford IceHogs dressing room over the past four seasons, Brookbank appeared in 128 games over those four campaigns.

Brookbank, 36, had previously retired at the end of the 2010-11 season. He was employed as a pro scout with the Vancouver Canucks for the first half of the subsequent season before re-signing with Rockford and skating in 17 games with the IceHogs on the back end of the 2011-12 schedule.

The veteran of four NHL teams, ten AHL cities to go along with stops in Anchorage (WCHL), Oklahoma City (CHL) and Orlando (IHL) early in his 17-year career – Brookbank established residency in the northwestern Chicago suburbs during his tenure with the IceHogs and it had been expected he’d have an offer to join hockey operations in this capacity once he decided to officially call it a career.

Also joining the pro scouting staff now is 14-year NHL veteran Mike Grier.

Grier played in 1,060 regular season contests over his career with Edmonton, Washington, Buffalo, San Jose and Buffalo. Grier retired in 2011. His career high in goals scored was 20; reached twice (1998-99 and 2000-01), both during his tenure with the Oilers. Grier posted 162 goals and 383 points in his 1,060 regular season games and another 14 goals and 28 points in 101 career NHL playoff contests.

The Blackkhawks have also hired Mike Mottau, a former NHL defenseman who announced his retirement from active professional hockey this summer.

Mottau played 8 games for the Florida Panthers last season. The Boston College graduate (1996-2000) was drafted by the New York Rangers in the 7th round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft and went on to play for 6 NHL teams over his 340 game (regular season & playoff) NHL career.

Brookbank, Grier and Mottau also join Derek Booth, a Niagara Falls, Ontario native who was the Southern Professional Hockey League coach of the year in 2005 when he served as the bench boss for the Bloomington Prairie Thunder. Booth played in the IHL, AHL, ECHL, CHL and Europe of the course of his professional career. He also played two seasons in Roller Hockey International, the league which Blackhawks front office members Al MacIssac and Mark Bernard also spent time in – MacIsaac as a coach and Bernard as a goalie.

The Blackhawks pro scouting staff now stands at nine, with Ryan Stewart serving as director.

Rounding out the staff are Dave Cowan, Alex Brooks (Madison, WI native and former Wisconsin Badger and Chicago Wolves defenseman), Dennis Bonvie (one-time Blackhawks player and NHL enforcer), and Don Lever.

Bonvie and Al MacIsaac (Blackhawks VP of Hockey Operations) are from the same hometown in Nova Scotia.

Earlier this summer Bowman also hired retired NHL defenseman Mark Eaton as a developmental coach, joining Adrian Aucoin and Yanic Perreault as roving instructors and liaisons to hockey operations in the development of Blackhawks prospects.

Mark Eaton attended Notre Dame for one season before turning pro. He played in 718 total NHL games over his 15-year pro career with Philadelphia, Nashville, Pittsburgh and the NY Islanders. Eaton finished his career in returning to the Penguins for the 2012-13 season.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
Twitter.com/ChrisBlock

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