The Detroit Red Wings
are expected Friday to name Jeff Blashill and Bill Peters as assistant coaches to Mike Babcock.
Blashill was one of the top young coaches in college hockey, while Peters had great success at the Canadian junior level before three seasons at the AHL level.
Western Michigan announced Friday that Blashill resigned as the Broncos' head coach to become an assistant with the Red Wings. Blashill had only been the coach for one season in Kalamazoo, but he helped Western Michigan to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996 and was named national coach of the year by two leading authorities on the sport -- Inside College Hockey and USCHO.com.
"Today is a very emotional day for me," Blashill said on Western Michigan's official website. "I am extremely excited for the opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream to coach in the NHL with the best organization in sports; the Detroit Red Wings
. However, it is with extreme sadness that I step down as head coach of the Western Michigan Bronco hockey team. WMU is an extremely special place with special attributes. I am certain that with the commitment the university is making to hockey, that Bronco hockey will continue on its current path of becoming an elite program nationally. My goal when I became head coach was to bring the program to national prominence and I am totally convinced that will happen very soon, regardless of my leaving."
Blashill also won the Clark Cup in the USHL during two seasons as coach and general manager of the Indiana Ice. Before that he spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Miami University and four years as an assistant at his alma mater, Ferris State.
The Rockford IceHogs of the AHL also announced Friday that Peters was stepping down to take a job with the Red Wings. Peters went 122-97-7-14 in three seasons with the IceHogs, who are the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks
Peters won the Memorial Cup as head coach of the Spokane Chiefs in the Western Hockey League in 2007-08 before moving to the AHL. Babock was the head coach for Spokane in 1999-00, which was also the beginning of a three-year stint as an assistant there for Peters.
"Bill has been a great teacher and a valuable resource in the development of our many prospects in Rockford the last three seasons," said Blackhawks Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman. "I want to thank him for his dedication to the growth of the Blackhawks organization and certainly wish him well in Detroit."
The Red Wings had to replace both of Babcock's assistants from last season, because both left for head coaching positions. Paul McLean left to become the head coach of the Ottawa Senators
, while Brad McCrimmon
is now in charge for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the KHL.