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Photo: Chicago Blackhawks

Colliton named Rockford’s bench boss

The Chicago Blackhawks announced Thursday that they have hired Jeremy Colliton to serve as head coach of the organization’s top development affiliate, the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs.

“Jeremy’s experience as a player and a coach will allow him to be a great leader and mentor for our young prospects in Rockford,” said Blackhawks senior vice president and general manager Stan Bowman. “He is coming off a great start to his coaching career with four successful seasons in Sweden and fits very well into our plan of continuing to develop our younger players.”

Colliton spent the last four seasons as the head coach of Mora IK in Sweden (HockeyAllsvenskan). A native of Blackie, Alberta, Colliton guided his team to a league-best 35-4-13 record and 105 points during the 2016-17 season. Following the regular season, he led Mora IK to promotion to the Swedish Hockey League for the 2017-18 season after defeating Leksands IF in six games (4-2) of the best-of-seven series. Colliton joined the coaching ranks with Mora IK in an interim head coaching role during the 2013-14 season before taking over full-time the following season. In four seasons with Colliton behind the bench, Mora IK posted a 98-18-57 record.

“I’m honored to join the Blackhawks organization as they have a proven track record of winning that I’m excited to help continue,” said Colliton. “In Rockford, we will do everything we can to help our young prospects develop into the best players and people they can be.”

Prior to becoming a coach, Colliton had an eight-year professional career primarily in the National Hockey League and AHL. He appeared in 57 NHL games across five seasons (2005-09, 2010-11) with the New York Islanders, notching three goals and three assists. He was originally drafted by the Islanders in the second round (58th overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft.

The 32-year-old also spent parts of six seasons (2005-09, 2010-12) in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, recording 203 points (77 goals, 126 assists) in 326 games. He is the Sound Tigers’ franchise leader in assists and points

Colliton also had experience on the international stage, earning gold and silver medals while representing Canada at the 2005 and 2004 IIHF World Junior Championships, respectively.

Colliton is the fourth head coach in Rockford’s AHL history, following Ted Dent (2011-17), Bill Peters (2008-11) and Mike Haviland (2007-08).