Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey program has continued its strong presence internationally as today Bulldog alum Jeff Blashill (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), who recently completed his third season as head coach of the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings, was named head coach of the 2018 U.S. Men's National Team as announced by USA Hockey.
The squad will compete in the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship, set for May 4-20 in Herning and Copenhagen, Denmark.
Blashill will be joined by assistant coaches Dan Bylsma (Grand Haven, Mich.), Don Granato (Downer's Grove, Ill.) and fellow Bulldog alum and former FSU teammate Seth Appert (Cottage Grove, Minn.).
Blashill will lead the U.S. for the second straight year and guided the 2017 U.S. Men's National Team to a 6-0-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) mark.
"We're excited to have Jeff back leading our team," said Bill Zito, general manager of the 2018 U.S. Men's National Team and member of USA Hockey's International Council. "He did an excellent job last year and I know he's looking forward to building on that. In addition, we've got a great group of assistant coaches and support staff that will represent our country well in Denmark."
A year ago, Blashill guided the U.S. Men's National Team to a fifth-place finish in his international head coaching debut at the 2017 IIHF Men's World Championship in Cologne, Germany, and Paris, France.
Overall, the 2018 IIHF Men's World Championship marks the fifth time Blashill will be 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.
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 Appert last week was also tabbed as the head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team that will compete in the upcoming 2018 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championships later this month.