Blashill Named AHL Coach of the Year
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill has been named the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the American Hockey League's outstanding coach for the 2013-14 season, as voted by fellow coaches and members of the media in each of the league's 30 cities.
Born in Detroit and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., the 40-year-old Blashill helped the Griffins maintain prominence this season in defense of their 2013 Calder Cup title despite a large-scale roster overhaul. With a 46-22-2-4 record (98 pts.), Grand Rapids currently ranks second in the Western Conference and sits only two points from claiming a second straight Midwest Division title.
Despite turnover which saw only four of their top 12 scorers from a year ago and just three of their top 10 playoff producers play a majority of this season in Grand Rapids, the Griffins have posted three separate seven-game winning streaks and have held first place in the Midwest Division since Nov. 3, never losing more than two consecutive games in regulation at any point this season. Grand Rapids ranks seventh in the AHL in offense (3.15 goals per game) and second in defense (2.42).
Blashill's influence has had a huge impact on the parent Detroit Red Wings as well, as he's prepared 10 of his 2013-14 players for their NHL debuts, including nine as members of the Wings. All told, 18 members of Blashill's 2013-14 squad were called up to play a total of 391 NHL games, and 13 players from his Calder Cup championship team logged time in Detroit this season, helping the club extend its playoff streak to 23 consecutive seasons. Calder Cup champions scored goals in 15 of Detroit's 16 games prior to clinching a postseason berth.
In February, Blashill became the first Griffins head coach in 12 years to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic, guiding the AHL All-Stars to victories over FÃ¤rjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League in both the skills competition and All-Star Game. The event, which took place at the Mile One Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland, marked the first international contests in AHL All-Star history.
In 2012-13, his first season as a head coach at the pro level, Blashill led the Griffins to the Calder Cup, marking the first championship in the franchise's 17-year history. Blashill was named by the Red Wings as the ninth head coach in Griffins history on June 25, 2012 after serving as an assistant coach for the parent club in 2011-12, when he helped the team to its 12th consecutive 100-point season and 21st consecutive postseason appearance.
Blashill is the second Griffins head coach to be named AHL Coach of the Year and the third to be named his league's coach of the year, following the selections of Bruce Cassidy in 2001-02 and Guy Charron for the 1999-2000 International Hockey League season. Each prior winner moved on to the NHL the season after his honor, with Cassidy taking the reins of the Washington Capitals and Charron joining the Anaheim Ducks as an assistant.
The Louis A.R. Pieri Award, which was first presented in 1968, honors the late Mr. Pieri, a long-time contributor to the AHL as the owner and general manager of the Providence Reds and a 2009 inductee into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame. Previous winners of the award include Frank Mathers (1969), Fred Shero (1970), Al MacNeil (1972, '77), John Muckler (1975), Jacques Demers (1983), Larry Pleau (1987), Mike Milbury (1988), John Paddock (1988), Marc Crawford (1993), Barry Trotz (1994), Robbie Ftorek (1995, '96), Peter Laviolette (1999), Claude Julien and Geoff Ward (2003), Claude Noel (2004), Randy Cunneyworth (2005), Kevin Dineen (2006), Mike Haviland (2007), Scott Gordon (2008), Scott Arniel (2009), Guy Boucher (2010), John Hynes (2011), Jon Cooper (2012) and Willie Desjardins (2013).
• Discuss this story on the American Hockey League message board...
American Hockey League Stories from April 15, 2014
- Monsters Fall to Hamilton 2-1 - Cleveland Monsters
- Bulldogs Edge Monsters 2-1 - Hamilton Bulldogs
- Shayne Gostisbehere Signs ATO with Phantoms - Adirondack Phantoms
- Florida Panthers Win NHL Draft Lottery - San Antonio Rampage
- Kings Recall Vey - Manchester Monarchs
- Florida Panthers Jimmy Hayes, Drew Shore & Vincent Trocheck to Represent USA at 2014 World Champions - San Antonio Rampage
- B-Sens Weekly - Binghamton Senators
- Texas Stars Sign Right Wing Branden Troock to ATO - Texas Stars
- Admiral Playoff Tickets on Sale Now - Milwaukee Admirals
- Rampage Reassign Josh McFadden to Cincinnati - San Antonio Rampage
- Athanasiou, Backman and Janmark to Grand Rapids - Grand Rapids Griffins
- San Antonio Rampage Weekly Update - San Antonio Rampage
- Friday Is Fan Appreciation Night - Utica Comets
- Flames Discontinue AHL Operations in Abbotsford - Abbotsford Heat
- Admirals to Hold Fan Appreciation Night on Friday - Milwaukee Admirals
- Penguins Weekly - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- Stars Weekly (Week 29) - Texas Takes Five-Of-Six Points to Clinch Top Seed in Western Conference - Texas Stars
- Job Fair and Boston Bruins Alumni Doubleheader Highlight Fan Appreciation Weekend - Worcester Sharks
- Lake Erie Monsters on SportsTime Ohio this Saturday, April 19th - Cleveland Monsters
- Rock Report - St. John's IceCaps
- American Hockey League Announces Suspensions - AHL
- B-Sens Sign Two to ATOs - Binghamton Senators
- Wolves Sign Zach Pochiro; Release Caissy - Chicago Wolves
- Norfolk Admirals Weekly - Norfolk Admirals
- Grand Rapids' Jeff Blashill Voted AHL's Outstanding Coach for 2013-14 - AHL
- Blashill Named AHL Coach of the Year - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Albany Devils to Recognize Union College Men's Hockey Team Saturday - Albany Devils
- Over $20,000 In Prizes To Be Given Away On Bulldogs' Fan Appreciation Night - Hamilton Bulldogs
- Green Acres Elementary School Winning with Wellness/Get Moving Manchester Champion - Manchester Monarchs
- Jarnkrok Reassigned to Milwaukee - Milwaukee Admirals
- April 19th Pirates Game vs. St. John's Moved to Saco - St. John's IceCaps
- April 19th Pirates Game vs. St. John's Moved to Saco - Portland Pirates
- Coyotes Assign Four Players to Portland - Portland Pirates
- Jeremy Smith Recalled by Columbus Blue Jackets - Springfield Falcons
- Rangers Recall J.T. Miller from Hartford - Hartford Wolf Pack
- Penguins Playoff Tickets Go on Sale April 16th - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- Two Players Rejoin Sound Tigers, Three Head to Stockton - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Rampage to Host Fan Appreciation Night on Friday - San Antonio Rampage
- Seven Players Reassigned to Amerks from Sabres - Rochester Americans
- Penguins Sign Three to ATOs - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Grand Rapids Griffins Stories
- Griffins Push Past Monsters on Elson's Late Goal
- Griffins Give Away Fanny Packs as Part of '90s Night Next Weekend
- Red Wings Assign Hirose, Smith to Griffins
- Surging Griffins Play Home-And-Home against Cleveland, Travel to Chicago
- Griffins Extinguish Stars, Move into Tie for Third