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Stothers won't return as Griffins' head coach

by Randy Cleves / Detroit Red Wings
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday announced that they have reacquired the responsibility for their coaching staff from the Red Wings for the remainder of the teams’ current affiliation agreement, which runs through the 2011-12 season. As part of this change, Griffins coach Mike Stothers will not return for the 2008-09 season.

“After having the opportunity to sit down with the Red Wings and discuss where we are and where we are headed, both sides agreed to return to the previous formula that had worked so well for both franchises,” said Bob McNamara, Griffins general manager.

The Griffins hired their own coaching staffs in all seasons prior to 2007-08, when a renewal of their affiliation with the Red Wings shifted that responsibility to Detroit.

The Griffins have begun the process of identifying candidates to fill their head coaching vacancy. Assistant coach Jim Paek, who joined Grand Rapids’ staff in 2005, will remain in his current role and begin his fourth season behind the team’s bench this fall.

The new head coach will join one of the American Hockey League’s premier franchises. Over the last nine seasons, the Griffins have the most wins (402, tied), regular season championships (two) and division titles (five) of any Triple-A hockey team.

In addition, the Griffins and Red Wings have comprised hockey’s most successful affiliation since their 2002 union, combining for more standings points (1,129) than any other AHL/NHL partnership over the last six seasons. Fifteen former Griffins were on the playoff roster of the 2008 Stanley Cup champions, eight of whom will have their names engraved on the Cup: Niklas Kronwall, Jiri Hudler, Valtteri Filppula, Brett Lebda, Darren Helm, Tomas Kopecky, Darren McCarty and Chris Osgood.

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