"It’s a unbelievable honor to represent your country," said Jeff Blashill. David Guralnick, The Detroit News
Detroit — Missing the Stanley Cup playoffs can come with some award, for coaches and players in the NHL, and Jeff Blashill got a big appointment Tuesday that will provide a valuable experience for the second-year Red Wings coach.
USA Hockey named Blashill head coach of the 2017 U.S. Men’s National Team for the International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship, May 5-21 in Cologne, Germany, and Paris, France.
After compiling a 33-36-13 record and the Wings missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, Blashill now will experience the quick preparation required for a team of United States-born NHL players from other teams that did not qualify for the playoffs and teams eliminated in the first round.
“We’re extremely pleased to have Jeff lead our men’s national team at the world championship,” said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey.
“He’s been successful at every step of his career and we know our team will be well prepared when the puck drops.”
It will be Blashill’s debut as head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team.
He coached goaltenders for the 2009 U.S. National Junior Team at the IIHF World Junior Championship. He also coached as an assistant for the U.S. Junior Select Team at the 2009 World Junior A Challenge and the U.S. National Under-18 Select Team at the 2006 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Blashill is an occasional presence at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, visiting the building with children who play hockey.
The U.S. National Team Development Program is in the building, and Blashill lives not far away.
He also attended both games between the United States and Canada at the recent IIHF Women’s World Championship.
Blashill coached the Grand Rapids Griffins from 2012-15, and won the first AHL championship, the Calder Cup, on the 17-year history of the franchise.
He 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.
He joined the Red Wings after one season as the head coach at Western Michigan University in 2010-11. Previously he was an assistant coach at Ferris State and Miami.
The staff and players of the 2017 U.S. Men’s National Team are selected by the U.S. Men’s National Team Advisory Group, led by Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey.
Other members include Stan Bowman, general manager of the Blackhawks; Dean Lombardi, the former general manager of the Kings; David Poile, general manager of the Predators; Ray Shero, general manager of the Devils; Dale Tallon, general manager of the Panthers; and Don Waddell, president of the Hurricanes.
And two former players, Crhis Drury and Bill Guerin, also are members.