The Michigan hockey team announced the hiring of Brandon Naurato as an assistant coach on Monday morning.
Naurato, 36, played for the Wolverines from 2005 to 2009 and most recently worked for the Detroit Red Wings as a player development consultant.
“It is an honor to have earned the opportunity to come back to Michigan and work with Mel, Billy, and the rest of the hockey staff,” Naurato said in a release on MGoBlue.com. “The life lessons and relationships that were built during my years in Ann Arbor as a player have helped shape who I am as a person today, and I can’t wait to get started. I am grateful to Coach Pearson and Warde Manuel for the new position and opportunity to have a positive impact on all of our student-athletes as players and more importantly, people.”
“Brandon will bring a cutting-edge skill development component that is critical to today’s student-athletes as they pursue on-ice excellence,” Michigan head coach Mel Pearson said in the same release. “He is a ‘think outside the box’ type coach whose goals are to help each individual reach his potential. His experience working with the Detroit Red Wings and NHL players will greatly benefit our student-athletes.”
Naurato scored 32 goals and 32 assists in 130 career games at Michigan, helping the Wolverines to the 2008 CCHA Championship and a Frozen Four appearance. After college, he bounced around the minor leagues for four seasons, most notably for the Port Huron Icehawks of the International Hockey League and Dayton Gems of the Central Hockey League.
Before joining the Red Wings in 2018, Naurato was a managing partner and director of player development at Total Package Hockey. With the Red Wings, Naurato worked with both the Red Wings and their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, with a focus on individual skill development, team tactics and video analysis and analytics, per MGoBlue.
Through Total Package Hockey and his own player development business, Naurato Consulting, Naurato has worked with many notable NHL players over the years, including former Michigan standouts Dylan Larkin, Quinn Hughes and Zach Werenski.
A particular focus of Naurato’s, as he described in a 2018 interview with Dana Wakiji of DetroitRedWings.com, is using video to highlight trends for players and teams so that they can improve their efficiency.
“It’s almost just giving them the visual of here are some things that you do well,” Naurato said in that interview. “NHL players really don’t have glaring weaknesses or things that they’re doing poorly. But there are some minor adjustments that they can make and you show those trends through the video to where it may make their lives easier or just make them more efficient.
“... If I show all the guy’s shot attempts in a 10-game segment, he’s going to see exactly where he’s getting his shots from, which shots are getting blocked, which shots are hitting the net and how he’s scoring his goals. If you find a trend that he’s getting shots blocked in a specific area, well then you just dive deeper and say why and is there some type of skill that I can help him acquire to start being more efficient and getting those shots through.”
Naurato fills the void on Michigan’s staff left by Kris Mayotte, who departed in April to become the head coach at Colorado College.