Big Rapids, Mich. - A pair of Ferris State University men's ice hockey alums, Jeff Blashill and Seth Appert, helped lead the United States to a bronze medal at the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championships, which wrapped up this past weekend in Denmark.
Blashill, who recently completed his third season as head coach of the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings, served as the head coach for the U.S. Men's National Team while his former Bulldog teammate Seth Appert was one of his assistant coaches.
Blashill led the U.S. for the second straight year in the world championships and helped the squad compile a 6-2-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) overall record during the May 4-20 event in Herning and Copenhagen, Denmark. The United States won its first seven games and reached the semifinals before closing the event with a 4-1 triumph over Canada in the bronze medal game. He previously guided the 2017 U.S. Men's National Team to a fifth-place finish and a 6-0-0-2 mark in his international head coach debut last year.
Overall, the 2018 IIHF Men's World Championship marked the fifth time Blashill was behind a U.S. bench after having served as a goaltending coach for the 2009 U.S. National Junior Team as well as an assistant coach for the U.S. Junior Select Team that won the 2009 World Junior A Challenge and the U.S. Under-18 Men's Select Team that earned second place at the 2006 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Before joining Detroit, Blashill was head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Red Wings' AHL affiliate, for three seasons (2012-15). In 2012-13 he led the Griffins to its first Calder Cup championship in the 17-year history of the franchise. Blashill joined the Red Wings' organization after 11 seasons in the collegiate ranks and two seasons in the United States Hockey League.
A goaltender in his playing days, Blashill's coaching career began as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Ferris State University, from 1998-2002 before fulfilling the same role at Miami University for six seasons (2002-08). He then made his head coaching debut with the USHL's Indiana Ice, compiling a 72-43-5 mark as head coach and general manager while guiding the Ice to a franchise-record 39 wins in 2008-09 and Clark Cup title as playoff champions of the USHL.
After two seasons in Indiana, Blashill returned to the NCAA as the head coach at Western Michigan University in 2010-11. In one season with the Broncos, he led WMU to double its win total from the previous season and also to the school's first appearance in the CCHA championship game since 1986.
Meanwhile, Appert was an assistant coach on Blashill's world championship team for the second consecutive year. Last month, he served as head coach for the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team that competed in the 2018 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championships in Russia and earned the Silver Medal. He wrapped up his first season this past winter as the head coach at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program.
The Cottage, Grove, Minn., native was previously the head coach of both the 2008 and 2011 U.S. Under-18 Select Teams that played in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia. He was also an assistant coach for the 2007 U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the same event and served as an assistant coach for Team USA in last year's Under-18 World Championships where the U.S. captured its tournament-record 10th goal medal.
Appert spent 18 years in college hockey prior to arriving at the NTDP this year, including 11 years as head coach at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2006-17), where in 2011 he led the Engineers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 16 years, and seven seasons at the University of Denver where he helped the Pioneers to two national championships.
Appert was a four-year letterwinner (1992-96) at Ferris State as a goaltender. He compiled a 5-11-2 mark in net with a 4.65 goals-against average and an .850 saves percentage (482 total saves) in 28 career appearances. Following his playing career, Appert served as a student assistant coach at FSU on head coach Bob Daniels' staff for the 1996-97 season.
Prior to starting his collegiate playing career at Ferris State, Appert was an all-league and honorable all-state selection at Park High School in Cottage Grove, Minn. As a senior, he was selected Park High's Most Valuable Player as a result of recording a 1.85 goals-against average and a .927 saves percentage. Appert helped lead his team to a 17-6-2 overall record and a league championship title in 1991-92.
Ferris State Hockey has had a strong presence internationally in recent years. Among others, former FSU defenseman and team captain Chad Billins played on the U.S. Olympic team this past February in the Winter Olympics. Another alum, four-time Stanley Cup Champion Chris Kunitz, was a member of Canada's Olympic gold medal squad in 2014 while former standout defenseman Zach Redmond has also played on the international level in recent years for the United States.