A native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, Ben Simon returns for his second season behind the Griffins’ bench after having helped Grand Rapids reach the 2016 Central Division Finals, where it fell to eventual Calder Cup champion Lake Erie in six games.
Simon, 38, spent three seasons as an assistant coach in the AHL before coming to West Michigan, most recently helping the Toronto Marlies to a 40-27-9-0 mark and a playoff berth during the 2014-15 season.
Simon’s coaching career began in 2010-11 as the head coach of the EIHL’s Sheffield Steelers. He earned a 43-10-0-1 record (0.806) and led the team to a regular season championship, then spent the following two seasons as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. Simon then posted a 41-23-4-4 record as the head coach of the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones in 2013-14, leading his team to the Kelly Cup Finals.
Including Todd Nelson, Bruce Ramsay and Mike Knuble, all four of Grand Rapids’ coaches are former Griffins, as Simon notched nine points (4-5—9) in 21 games with the team in 2006-07. Originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the fifth round (110th overall) of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, he played four seasons for the University of Notre Dame, serving as the Irish’s captain as a senior in 1999-2000.
Simon went on to log 81 NHL games with Atlanta and Columbus and nearly 500 AHL contests during his 11-year playing career, which was highlighted by an IHL Turner Cup with Orlando in 2001 and an AHL Calder Cup with Chicago in 2002.
Simon and his wife, Beth, have two daughters, Margaret and Katherine.