Chris Kunitz’s new position in Blackhawks’ coaching staff to ‘evolve over time’

After retiring Tuesday, Kunitz is officially the Hawks’ newest player development advisor, but that role is fluid for now.

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Kunitz played 56 games for the Blackhawks last season and will take a coaching role this coming season.


Chris Kunitz is officially a Blackhawks player development adviser, but what that role exactly entails has yet to be determined.

“It’s a unique position, something that’s going to evolve as time goes along and see how it plays itself out,” Kunitz said Wednesday. “The Blackhawks were grateful enough to kind of create a new position, and it’s not just one-sided.”

The 39-year-old forward retired Tuesday after 15 NHL seasons. He will always be most known for his time in Pittsburgh, where he won three Stanley Cups, but he chose to move into the off-ice role with the Hawks instead.

Two factors led to that: his wife, Maureen, is a native of the Chicago area, and the two had purchased a home in the western suburbs during the middle of last season. Kunitz eventually tallied 10 points in 56 appearances, including his 1,000th career game, with the Hawks.

“We knew that I wasn’t going to further ... my career,” he said. “We obviously liked the Chicago area ... and we thought that would be a great way to transition into a different phase of life, still wanting to be at home with the kids and not be full-time.”

Kunitz added that the new coaching position won’t be too different, at its core, from what he had done the last several seasons as a veteran with the Penguins, Lightning and Hawks.

“You share experiences of things that worked for you, and taking some of the knowledge that I have from different seasons, different organizations, and trying to help those kids develop into full-time NHL-ers,” he said. “Talking hockey and being able to share some of the wisdom that other people have passed down to me is something that I’m looking forward to.”

Kunitz indicated he won’t travel much, instead using the time during road trips to help with player development in Rockford, the franchise’s AHL affiliate.

Brian Campbell embarked on his post-playing career in a similarly fluid coaching role with the Hawks after retiring two years ago, and has grown into an important mentor for the organization’s defenseman prospects. Kunitz is aiming to follow an equally successful path in the staff, regardless of where he eventually finds his niche to be.

“Hopefully, it’s something that evolves and shapes itself into which way it works,” he said.

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