Stothers named head coach of Griffins

stothers_200.jpgThe Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday named Mike Stothers as the new head coach for the Grand Rapids Griffins, their American Hockey League affiliate.

Prior to serving the last five seasons as head coach for the Ontario Hockey League’s Owen Sound Attack, the 45-year-old Stothers 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), two consecutive AHL regular season titles (1996-98) and the league’s 1998 Calder Cup championship.

After serving interim stints as an assistant coach with the Flyers during both the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 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.

"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 general manager Bob McNamara said.

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