Grand Rapids Griffins name head coach


Ben Simon. Courtesy Grand Rapids Griffins

The Grand Rapids Griffins have a new leader.

The Detroit Red Wings announced today Ben Simon as the head coach of the Griffins to begin the 2018-2019 season.

Simon is replacing Todd Nelson, who was named an assistant coach by the Dallas Stars last week.

Simon, 39, served as an assistant coach under Nelson for the past three seasons and has coached in the American Hockey League for six seasons.

As a Griffins assistant coach, Simon played an "integral role" in the team winning its second Calder Cup in 2017.

The Griffins have reached the Calder Cup playoffs in the last three seasons. During that time, Simon helped to coach the team to the second-most post-season victories in the AHL, with a 22-11 record since 2016.

Simon played professionally for 11 years, including 81 games in the NHL between Atlanta (2001-04) and Columbus (2005-06) and a stint with the Griffins in the 2006-2007 season.

He was drafted in 1997 and has won two league titles as a pro player. He helped the Orlando Solar Bears win the International Hockey League’s Turner Cup in 2001 and became a Calder Cup champion with the Chicago Wolves in 2002.

Simon represented Team USA at both the 1997 and 1998 World Junior Championships, where he earned a silver medal in 1997.

He is from Shaker Heights, Ohio, and he played collegiately at the University of Norte Dame, where he served as captain his senior year.

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