In 2012-13, his first season as a head coach at the pro level, Jeff Blashill led the Griffins to the Calder Cup, marking the first championship in the franchises 17-year history.
After winning the Midwest Division title with a 42-26-4-4 record, Grand Rapids defeated Houston (3-2), Toronto (4-2) and Oklahoma City (4-3) to earn its first-ever berth in the Calder Cup Finals. The Griffins then upset a powerful Syracuse squad that entered the finals with an 11-1 playoff mark and boasted 10 players who had won the cup with Norfolk in 2012. Grand Rapids claimed the series first three games, as well as all three games played at the Onondaga County War Memorial, en route to a 4-2 finals victory.
Blashill, 39, was named by the Detroit Red Wings as the ninth head coach in Griffins history on June 25, 2012, after having served as an assistant coach for the parent club in 2011-12, when he helped the team to its 12th consecutive 100-point season and 21st consecutive postseason appearance. Prior to joining the organization, he spent the 2010-11 campaign as the head coach of the CCHAs Western Michigan Broncos, earning several national coach of the year honors.
Born in Detroit and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Blashill has rapidly ascended hockeys coaching ladder. He began his head coaching career with the USHLs Indiana Ice in 2008-09, capturing a franchise-record 39 wins and a Clark Cup championship. He compiled a 72-43-5 mark in two seasons as the Ices head coach and general manager before departing for Western Michigan in 2010.
While in Kalamazoo, Blashill led the Broncos to a 19-13-10 record, doubling the teams win total from the previous season and leading it to its best conference finish (4th) since 1995-96. Additionally, the Broncos played in the CCHA championship game for the first time since 1986 and earned their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1996. Blashill was named a finalist for CCHA Coach of the Year and was named National Coach of the Year by College Hockey News, Inside College Hockey and USCHO.com.
Blashill began his coaching career by spending four seasons (1998-02) as an assistant at Ferris State University, his alma mater. He also spent six seasons (2002-08) with Miami University, helping the CCHAs RedHawks qualify for the NCAA Tournament four times while recruiting three Hobey Baker Finalists, four CCHA All-Rookie Team members, 11 first or second team All-CCHA players and six All-Americans.
Blashill has also been a member of Team USAs coaching staff three times: at the 2009 World Junior A Challenge, the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship and the 2006 U-18 Junior World Cup.
The former goaltender spent four seasons between the pipes for Ferris State, earning the Bulldogs Rookie of the Year award in 1994-95 and a spot on the CCHAs All-Academic Team for 1996-97. He also garnered the Ferris State University Presidents Award for three straight years for having the highest grade point average on the Bulldogs.
Blashill and his wife, Erica, live in East Grand Rapids with their three children, Teddy, Josie and Owen.