While there still has not been any official announcement, it is likely that Jeff Blashill will take over duties as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings. Blashill’s name seems to be popping up a lot, but since he has never coached an NHL game, fans might not be aware of what he has accomplished. So let’s take some time to meet the Red Wings new coach.
Blashill is a local guy, growing up in the state of Michigan. Hockey has been a major part of his life, from playing the game growing up to coaching as he got older.
Jeff Blashill’s junior career began in Des Moines, Iowa, where he played goaltender for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League. According to HockeyDB.com, he went 7-0 during the 1991-92 season, while going 18-4 in the 92-93 season. These numbers were impressive enough to earn Blashill a scholarship to Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI.
Blashill played four seasons at Ferris State, building up a 27-36-5 record during that time. While his numbers weren’t as great as they were with the Buccaneers, his play earned him Rookie of the Year honors in 1994. He was later named to the CCHA All-Academic team in 1997.
Shortly after his playing career ended, Blashill took a spot behind the bench with his former team as an assistant. He helped coach at Ferris State for three seasons before moving to Miami University to become an assistant.
In 2008, Blashill really took off as a head coach. He was named coach and GM of the Indiana Ice who played in the USHL. During his first season, he helped guide the Ice to a Clark Cup Championship. The Ice posted a 39-19-0-2 record during his first season. The following year, they went 33-24-0-3 and eventually lost in the semifinals of the playoffs.
After two seasons with the Ice, Blashill took a job with the Western Michigan Broncos in the CCHA. Once again, he found success. The Broncos finished the season 19-13-10 after going 820-8 in the previous year. Blashill guided his squad back to the NCAA tournament, although they lost in the first round.
His one season with Western Michigan would be enough to earn another promotion. Blashill was nabbed to be an assistant coach of the Detroit Red Wings for the 2011-12 season. The very next season he would be promoted to head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate.
It didn’t take long for Blashill to find success at the AHL level either. Prior to his arrival, the Griffins were out of the playoffs and barely over .500. In his first season behind the bench, the Griffins went 42-26-4-4. They followed up a great season with an even better postseason, winning the Calder Cup. The following season, the Griffins were even better during the season, but eventually lost in the semifinals.
This season, the Griffins have been up to much of the same. They’ve earned a third straight 40 win season, and are currently in the Western Conference Finals of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Blashill may have quite an undertaking in Detroit, taking over for arguably the best coach in the NHL today. But it should be known, Jeff Blashill is no slouch either. He wins, and he wins often. With the kind of track record he brings to the table, you should expect the Red Wings to keep winning too.