Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stothers takes over in Grand Rapids

The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday named Mike Stothers as the new head coach for the Grand Rapids Griffins, their American Hockey League affiliate.

Stothers, 45, becomes the seventh head coach in Griffins history. Prior to serving the last five seasons as head coach for the Ontario Hockey League’s Owen Sound Attack, he spent 20 years in the Philadelphia Flyers organization as a player and coach.

The Flyers’ first-round pick (21st overall) in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, Stothers is one of a select group that has won the AHL’s Calder Cup as both a player and a coach. He first hoisted the cup as a defenseman for the Maine Mariners in 1984, then repeated the feat as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Phantoms in 1998.

Following a 10-year playing career that included 30 NHL contests with the Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs, Stothers enjoyed a phenomenal nine-year run as an assistant coach for both the Flyers and their AHL affiliates. During his first three seasons with the expansion Phantoms, he helped guide the club to three straight division crowns (1996-99), consecutive AHL regular season titles (1996-98) and the league’s 1998 championship.

After serving interim stints as an assistant coach with the Flyers during both the 1998-99 and 1999-00 seasons, Stothers worked behind the NHL team’s bench for two full seasons from 2000-02, capping off his tenure with an Atlantic Division title in 2001-02.

In 13 seasons as both a head coach and assistant coach in the NHL, AHL and OHL, his teams have never missed the playoffs. In 560 regular season AHL games, Stothers has compiled a 284-199-65-12 (.576) mark, along with a 36-26 (.581) record in 62 Calder Cup Playoff contests. His career coaching resume shows 529 wins in 1064 regular season games, plus 52 wins in 107 postseason affairs.

"For us, it's important that our coach has what it takes to succeed in our league. With his experience in the AHL, he understands what players go through in their development and that's important," Griffins GM Bob McNamara said. "It's a great fit for both organizations.”

Stothers joins returning assistant coach Jim Paek in preparation for the Griffins’ 12th season overall and their seventh AHL campaign in 2007-08.


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