A dream is turning into reality for one former Ferris State University men's ice hockey player and coach as Jeff Blashill has accepted an assistant coaching position with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League (NHL).
The Red Wings organization, which made an official announcement this Friday (July 8), will welcome both Blashill and Bill Peters as new assistants on head coach Mike Babcock's coaching staff.
Blashill, who completed his first season as head coach at Western Michigan this 2010-11 campaign, played at Ferris State from 1994-98 while also serving as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs from 1998-2001.
“Today is a very emotional day for me,” said Blashill. “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. 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.”
At Ferris State, Blashill compiled a 27-36-5 career mark as a goaltender while registering a 3.89 goals-against average and an .865 saves percentage in 78 appearances. He presently ranks . Born in Detroit and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Blashill was chosen as FSU's Rookie of the Year Award recipient for the 1994-95 season and was named to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association's (CCHA) All-Academic Team in the 1996-97 campaign. He went on to serve as a volunteer assistant coach for the Bulldogs in the 1998-99 season and spent the next two seasons (1999-00 and 2000-01) in an assistant coach capacity with the program.
In his first and only season at Western Michigan, Blashill directed the 2010-11 Broncos to a 19-13-10 overall record which also featured an CCHA Championship Finals appearance and the program's first NCAA Tournament berth since 1996. As a result, Blashill was recognized as the national coach of the year by U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO), Inside College Hockey.com (INCH) and College Hockey News along with being a finalist for the CCHA Coach of the Year.
Before his arrival to Western Michigan, Blashill was the head
coach and general manager of the United States Hockey League's
(USHL) Indiana Ice for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 campaigns.
Under his direction, the Ice were crowned the USHL Clark Cup
champions in 2008-09 and produced a 39-19-2 overall
mark as the season victories total matched a franchise
Prior to his stint at Indiana, Blashill spent six seasons (2002-08) at Miami University as a member of head coach Enrico Blasi's staff. In those six seasons, the RedHawks made four NCAA Tournament appearances which featured a pair of Elite Eight trips in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. He also has been a member of Team USA's coaching staff on three occasions -- at the 2009 World Junior 'A' Challenge, the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championships and the 2006 Under-18 Junior World Cup.
Blashill graduated from Ferris State in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in finance. His wife, Erica is also a Ferris State alumnus. Blashill's younger brother, Tim Blashill, is presently the varsity head coach of the Big Rapids (Mich.) High School boy's ice hockey team and also serves as a pro shop/program coordinator at Ferris State.
"We're all very proud of Jeff's accomplishments," said Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels. "I know Jeff wanted to be a NHL coach someday and now he's been afforded this tremendous opportunity to be associated with a class organization in the Detroit Red Wings. I'm confident he will do just a good as job as he has done in his previous coaching positions at Western Michigan, Miami (Ohio), and Ferris State."