Griffins Capture Calder Cup

Head coach Jeff Blashill leads team, including seven alums, to championship in the AHL.
Chad Billins, who led Ferris State to the national championship game as a senior, won the Calder Cup Tuesday night.

Just two years ago, Ferris State alum Jeff Blashill was behind the bench at Western Michigan, and Danny DeKeyser was among his players. They faced off regularly with Chad Billins of Ferris State, Luke Glendening of Michigan and Riley Sheahan of Notre Dame. In the East, Gustav Nyquist was completing a brilliant career at Maine.

Tuesday night, those six and two other former college players hoisted the Calder Cup as champions of the AHL.

It marked the first championship for the Grand Rapids Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, and came in Blashill's first season behind the bench. Billins, Glendening and Sheahan were all in their first full pro season, while DeKeyser only turned pro in March, after Western Michigan's season ended.

Glendening and Sheahan each had 16 points in the playoffs, tied for the lead among AHL rookies. Billins's 14 points led the league's rookie defensemen and ranked second among all blueliners.

Two veterans who played college hockey also made big contributions to the Griffins' run: Jeff Hoggan (Nebraska-Omaha) and Brett Skinner (Denver). Hoggan played for the Mavericks from 1999-2002, while Skinner spent three seasons at Denver, including the Pioneers' back-to-back national championships in 2004 and '05.

Both Hoggan and Skinner have spent time in the NHL, and brought tremendous experience to Blashill's squad.

Former College Players on the Grand Rapids Griffins

Jeff Blashill (Coach) Ferris State
Chad Billins Ferris State
Danny DeKeyser Western Michigan
Luke Glendening Michigan
Jeff Hoggan Nebraska-Omaha
Gustav Nyquist Maine
Riley Sheahan Notre Dame
Brett Skinner Denver


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