Red Wings hire Watson to coach Griffins

Photo: Toledo Blade

The Detroit Red Wings have named Dan Watson head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the 12th head coach in franchise history.

Watson, 43, is coming off a season in which he led the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to the conference finals following a 45-19-5-3 regular season. He had been with Toledo for 14 seasons as an assistant coach (2009-14), associate head coach (2014-16) and head coach (2016-23); as head coach, Watson reached the Kelly Cup Finals in 2019 and 2022 and won three division titles and two regular-season championships. He was named the ECHL coach of the year in 2016-17.

A native of Glencoe, Ont., Watson played 193 games as a defenseman over parts of four AHL seasons with Syracuse, Cleveland and Providence.

Watson succeeds Ben Simon, who had served as the Griffins’ head coach for the past five seasons.