GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League announced that Greg Ireland has been named the team’s new head coach. Ireland replaces Danton Cole, who was relieved of his duties after two-and-a-half seasons. The ECHL affiliate for Grand Rapids is Toledo and both serve as the affiliate for Detroit of the National Hockey League.
The first game for the 39-year-old Ireland will be Friday when Grand Rapids hosts Utah. Grand Rapids is 24-22-1-1 and in fourth place in the West Division.
In his first season as an assistant coach with Grand Rapids in 2003-04, Ireland was responsible for a Griffins defense that allowed a franchise-low 166 goals and ranked fourth in the AHL with 2.08 goals allowed per game.
Ireland was head coach and general manager of hockey operations for the Bombers from 1998-2003. He is the Bombers all-time coaching leader with a 175-134-47 record and led the team to the Kelly Cup Playoffs four times in five seasons, including the 2002 Kelly Cup Finals. Following the 2002-03 season, he joined the coaching staff of Hamilton of the AHL which advanced to the 2003 Calder Cup Finals.
In five seasons with Dayton, Ireland had more than 90 players who were called up to either the AHL or the International Hockey League, including 18 players in the AHL in 2002-03.