The Detroit Red Wings signed Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill to a three-year contract Wednesday, meaning he will be around at least through the 2016-17 season.
In a press release, Ken Holland said “Jeff Blashill has done a tremendous job in Grand Rapids. Our young players were instrumental in getting us into the playoffs for a 23rd straight season, and the championship experience they got under Jeff in Grand Rapids was invaluable in turning those young players into NHL players.”
Last season Blashill (40) led the Griffins to their only Calder Cup championship in franchise history. In the 2012-13 season leading up to the playoff run, the team finished atop the Midwest Division with a 42-26-4-4 record in just his first season as a professional head coach.
This season he helped improve the Griffins’ regular season performance to 46-23-2-5 (which earned him the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award for most outstanding coach of the season) before they were eliminated after a 5-5 playoff performance.
His previous coaching experience includes four seasons as an assistant coach at Ferris State (where he played hockey up until he joined the coaching staff), six seasons as an assistant coach at Miami University (Ohio), two seasons as head coach of the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League, one year as head coach of Western Michigan (where he coached Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser), and one year as Mike Babcock’s assistant in Detroit (2011-12).
This puts to rest rumors of Blashill’s move to another NHL team. Many believe that he is being groomed to one day take over the head coaching job in Detroit if and when Babcock decides to move on.
Blashill told Pete Wallner of MLive.com “I’m a Michigan guy. My family lives in West Michigan between Big Rapids and Traverse City. My wife is in the Detroit area. I love Grand Rapids. I think it is one of the nicest cities in America.”
“…I’m not in any rush to leave a great situation. Actually, I’d say the opposite: I was excited at the opportunity to be able to further my time with the Grand Rapids Griffins.”
And Griffins players and fans are in no rush to see him leave either.
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