Jeff Blashill enters his second season as head coach after being named to the position on June 9, 2015. Blashill is entering his sixth season overall with the organization, spending one season as an assistant coach with the Red Wings (2011-12) before serving as head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate, from 2012-15 before ascending to his current role.
The 42-year-old is the 27th coach in franchise history, the first American to lead the Red Wings and just the third Michigan native to coach any major Detroit sports team, joining Steve Mariucci (Detroit Lions, 2003-05) and Dave DeBusschere (Detroit Pistons, 1964-67).
In his first season with the Red Wings, Blashill guided the club to its 25th consecutive postseason appearance, extending the longest such streak in all of professional sports. Blashill posted the sixth-best winning percentage (0.567) of any first-year head coach in Red Wings history.
During his time in Grand Rapids, Blashill led the club to three of the most successful campaigns in franchise history, highlighted by a 2012-13 campaign that saw Grand Rapids capture a regular-season Midwest Division title and eventually the first Calder Cup championship in the franchise's 17-year history. In 2014-15, the Griffins won the Midwest Division after reaching 100 points for the first time during Blashill's tenure with a 46-22-6-2 (W-L-OTL-SOL) record over the AHL's 76-game slate. The club advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the second time in three seasons before falling to the Utica Comets in six games. In the 80-year history of the American Hockey League, no team played more playoff games (50) than the Griffins did during Blashill's run as head coach.
Born in Detroit and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Blashill won the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL's most outstanding coach in 2013-14 and was named head coach for the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic. In his three seasons with Grand Rapids, he compiled a 134-71-12-11 regular-season record and a 29-21 mark in the postseason, winning seven of nine total playoff series. He is the only coach in Griffins history to qualify for the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, leading the team to 92 points or better each year.
Not including players who went to Grand Rapids on conditioning stints, 28 players who skated for the Griffins over his three seasons went on to play at least one NHL game, including Danny DeKeyser, Luke Glendening, Tomas Jurco, Petr Mrazek, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar, who have all moved up to full-time roles with Detroit after winning the Calder Cup with Blashill in 2013. A total of 18 players who appeared for Detroit in 2015-16 had played for Blashill during his time in Grand Rapids. An additional nine players were also regulars for Detroit in 2011-12, which Blashill spent as an assistant coach in Detroit and helped the team to a 12th consecutive 100-point season.
Blashill joined the Red Wings' organization after one season as the head coach at Western Michigan University in 2010-11, where he doubled the Broncos win total from the previous season and led the school to its first appearance in the CCHA Championship game since 1986. He finished as 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 made his head coaching debut with the United States Hockey League's Indiana Ice, compiling a 72-43-5 mark as head coach and general manager from 2008-10. The Ice earned a franchise-record 39 wins in 2008-09 and won the Clark Cup as champions of the USHL. He also developed nine players that played in the NHL or were selected in the NHL Entry Draft.
He began his coaching career with four seasons as an assistant coach for Ferris State University from 1998-02, followed by six seasons in the same role with Miami University in which the RedHawks qualified for the NCAA tournament four times. While overseeing the RedHawks' recruiting efforts, he brought in three Hobey Baker Finalists, six NCAA All-Americans and 11 first- or second-team All-CCHA players. Blashill also represented the United States as an assistant coach at international tournaments on three occasions: the 2009 World Junior A Challenge (gold medal), the 2009 World Junior Championship (fifth place) and the 2006 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament (silver medal).
A goaltender in his playing days, Blashill spent his collegiate career at Ferris State and was the Bulldogs' Rookie of the Year in 1994-95, earned a spot on the CCHA All-Academic Team in 1996-97 and won FSU's President's Award in three consecutive years for having the highest grade-point-average on the Bulldogs. In 78 games over his four seasons in Big Rapids, he held a 27-36-5 record with two shutouts. He previously spent three seasons with the USHL's Des Moines Buccaneers, helping the team to a Clark Cup championship in 1992. He is the only person in league history to win the Clark Cup as both a player and head coach.
Jeff and his wife, Erica, reside in Plymouth with three children: Teddy, Josie and Owen.