Two more former players have joined the Grand Rapids Griffins coaching staff.
As the Griffins have seen Jeff Blashill and his top two assistants promoted to the Detroit Red Wings, they’ve hired three former Griffins to take over the bench.
Earlier this month, the team announced Todd Nelson as its new head coach, and this week, the Griffins announced his newest assistant coaches: Bruce Ramsay and Ben Simon.
The Griffins also announced former NHL player, Griffin and Grand Rapids native Mike Knuble will return as an assistant coach, as will Goaltending Coach Jeff Salajko and Video Coach Bill LeRoy.
With the additions, four of the team’s five coaching staff members have played for the Griffins.
Prior to his hiring, the 46-year-old Ramsay was the head coach of the East Coast Hockey League’s Tulsa Oilers for the previous six seasons, compiling a 185-180-35 record. The ECHL is a step below the Griffins’ league, the American Hockey League.
Ramsay and new Griffins head coach Nelson were teammates during the Griffins’ inaugural season in 1996-97. During his three seasons, Ramsay scored nine goals and assisted on 14, while collecting 781 penalty minutes, good for second in franchise history.
Nelson and Ramsay were reunited as coaches for the United Hockey League’s Muskegon Fury in 2004. The first season, the pair led the Fury to the league’s Colonial Cup. Following Nelson’s departure as Muskegon’s head coach, Ramsay took over and collected an 84-56-12 record during his two seasons behind the bench before moving to Tulsa.
Simon, 37, most recently served as an assistant coach of the Toronto Marlies, a team the Griffins beat in this year’s Calder Cup Playoffs.
His coaching career began in 2010-11, following his playing career, when he was hired as the head coach of the Sheffield Steelers of the Elite Ice Hockey League in England.
At the helm of Sheffield, Simon took the team to a 43-10-0-1 record and won the league’s regular season championship.
Following his short stint in England, he moved on to become an assistant coach of the Rockford IceHogs, a division rival of the Griffins.
He then took over as head coach of the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, where he led the team to the Kelly Cup finals in his lone season before joining Toronto’s staff.
Simon played 81 NHL games during his career with the Atlanta Thrashers and Columbus Blue Jackets.
He played with the Griffins in 2006-07 and played with a variety of teams in the U.S., Germany and England during his 11-year career.