GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Griffins have hired Todd Nelson as their new head coach.
Nelson replaces Jeff Blashill who was just named as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings earlier this month.
Nelson, 46, becomes the 10th head coach in Griffins franchise history after splitting the 2014-15 season in head-coaching roles with the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL) and the Edmonton Oilers (NHL).
Nelson was the first player ever signed to a Griffins contract on July 24, 1996, prior to the team’s inaugural season. He played 236 career games with Grand Rapids. He was a member of the Griffins’ 1999-00 squad that reached the IHL Turner Cup Finals.
Nelson’s 236 games played as a Griffin rank 19th all time and sixth among defensemen, while his 56 assists and 67 points both place 13th among Grand Rapids blueliners. Following in the footsteps of Danton Cole (2002-05), whom he served under as an assistant coach, Nelson becomes the second former Griffins player to be employed as Grand Rapids’ head coach.