DETROIT — Western Michigan University head coach Jeff Blashill will be one of two assistant coaches for Mike Babcock this upcoming season.
“Today is a very emotional day for me,” Blashill told wmubroncos.com. “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. WMU is an extremely special place with special attributes. I am certain that with the commitment the university is making to hockey, that Bronco hockey will continue on its current path of becoming an elite program nationally. 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.”
Blashill guided the Broncos to the NCAA Tournament this year for the first time in 15 seasons. He squad also made it to the CCHA tournament championship game.
Because of those accomplishments the school increased his base salary from $150,000 to $275,000. He also could earn $100,000 more in incentives.
Blashill has been an assistant coach at Ferris State and Miami University. In 2009, he was named head coach and general manager of the Indiana Ice, a Tier 1 junior hockey team in the United States Hockey League. In his only season there he guided the Ice to the championship.
Both of Babcock’s former assistants each landed head coaching jobs.
Paul MacLean was named the head coach in Ottawa, while Brad McCrimmon was hired as the head coach for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.
McLean was with the Wings for five seasons, while McCrimmon spent three seasons in Detroit.