Griffins add Ferschweiler as assistant coach

The Grand Rapids Griffins on Monday announced the addition of Pat Ferschweiler to their hockey operations staff as an assistant coach.

He replaces Jim Paek, who served as the Griffins’ assistant coach for nine seasons (2005-14) before being named director of hockey for the Korea Ice Hockey Association and head coach of the Korean Men’s National Team in July.

Ferschweiler, 44, recently concluded his fourth season behind the bench at Western Michigan University, where he helped the team to a 19-16-5 record. The Rochester, Minn., native served as an assistant coach with the Broncos from 2010-13 before being promoted to associate head coach for the 2013-14 season.

In his inaugural campaign with Western Michigan in 2010-11, Ferschweiler served under the charge of current Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill and helped the team to a 19-13-10 record, more than doubling the win total from the Broncos’ previous season. Blashill and Ferschweiler’s squad finished fourth in the CCHA with a conference record of 10-9-9 and earned its first bid to the CCHA championship game since 1996.

During his second season with Western Michigan, Ferschweiler assisted the Broncos in earning their first CCHA Tournament championship since 1986. Under his guidance, current Red Wings defenseman and former Griffin Danny DeKeyser was named Second Team All-CCHA and Second Team All-American.

In 2004, Ferschweiler took on the role of general manager and head coach of the Russell Stover Under-18 team of the Midwest Elite Hockey League. In six seasons at the helm of the U18 team, Ferschweiler established the club as one of the country’s elite hockey programs and led the team to numerous Midwest Regional Championships. Most recently, he helped Russell Stover to a third-place finish at the 2010 USA Hockey Tier I 18U National Tournament.

On top of his coaching duties with Russell Stover, Ferschweiler simultaneously acted as the director of hockey for the Kansas City Stars youth organization from 2005-09 and helped train coaches at both the travel and house level.

“I am excited to add Pat to our staff,” said Blashill. “Having worked together at WMU, I know firsthand that Pat is an outstanding hockey coach. He excels in developing players, and he has a great hockey mind and a great ability to communicate his thoughts. Most importantly, Pat relates to his players and builds relationships that extend beyond his time coaching them. He’ll be a great asset to the Griffins and Red Wings organizations.”

Prior to his coaching career, Ferschweiler enjoyed an eight-year playing career spanning the International Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League and British Ice Hockey Superleague. He also played three seasons at Western Michigan.