The Detroit Red Wings today announced the hiring of Jeff Blashill as the new head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins. Blashill is the ninth head coach in the Griffins' 17 year history.
Blashill was an assistant coach with the Red Wings last season under head coach Mike Babcock and now takes over the Red Wings AHL affiliate. It's the fourth team Blashill will have coached in the last four seasons.
Prior to joining the Red Wings, Blashill was the head coach of the Western Michigan Broncos for the 2010-2011 season. In his one season at Kalamazoo, Blashill led the Broncos to the CCHA Championship Game for the first time since 1986 and their first NCAA tournament in 15 years. Before joining the Broncos, Blashill was the head coach of the USHL's Indiana Ice for two seasons.
He takes over for Curt Fraser, who left Grand Rapids last week to become an assistant coach for the Dallas Stars. Fraser was the Griffins all-time leader in wins and games coached in his four seasons in Grand Rapids. However, his teams didn't make the AHL playoffs in his final three seasons, though a large part of the teams struggles the last three years were do to the fact that many of the Griffins best players were often called up to Detroit to serve as injury replacements for the Detroit Red Wings.
Blashill is no stranger to West Michigan. Along with coaching the Western Michigan Broncos for one season, Blashill played his college hockey at Ferris State University as a goaltender. After his playing career in Big Rapids came to an end, Blashill served as an assistant coach under Bob Daniels for the Bulldogs from 1999-2002. He then served as assistant coach at Miami University before becoming the head coach of the Indiana Ice in 2008.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times