Ferris State Hockey Alum Jeff Blashill signs extension with Griffins
GRAND RAPIDS — The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday signed current Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill, who played and later served as an assistant coach at Ferris State University, to a new three-year contract, extending his tenure with the organization through the 2016-17 season. He’ll remain as the head coach of the Red Wings’ top affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
“Jeff Blashill has done a tremendous job in Grand Rapids,” said Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. “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. We’re excited to keep one of the top young coaches in hockey to continue to lead in the development of the next wave of Red Wings.”
“I’m thrilled to be able to remain with the Griffins,” said Blashill. “Both the Red Wings and Griffins are top-notch organizations filled with talented people that I enjoy working with. My family loves it here, and I’m happy to be able to continue to call Grand Rapids home. The AHL is a very challenging league, and we have a great group of young players and veteran leaders. I’m looking forward to being able to continue to work with them.”
Blashill, 40, has enjoyed two monumental seasons at the helm of the Griffins. In 2012-13, his first season as head coach at the pro level, Blashill led the Griffins to the Calder Cup, marking the first championship in franchise history.
During the 2013-14 campaign, Blashill helped the Griffins maintain prominence in defense of their title despite turnover which saw only four of their prior year’s top 12 scorers and just three of their top 10 playoff producers play a majority of the season in Grand Rapids. Blashill helped the team earn a regular season record of 46-23-2-5 (99 pts.) – surpassing the 42 wins and 92 points from its Calder Cup season – and ultimately led Grand Rapids to the Western Conference Semifinals, where it was eliminated by the regular season champion Texas Stars in six games.