Red Wings assistant coach Dan Bylsma spoke with the Grand Haven Tribune’s Len Painter regarding his circuitous route to his home-state team:
“I grew up a Red Wings fan,” he told me in a telephone interview last week. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been a fan.”
His allegiance to the red and white jersey switched when he became a professional hockey player and coach for other National Hockey League teams.
The connection to the Red Wings came after Bylsma worked as an assistant coach alongside Red Wings head coach Blashill during the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation (IHF) World Championships in Copenhagen and Henning, Denmark. Blashill’s U.S. team won the bronze medal, defeating Canada, 4-1. Bylsma was in charged of the team’s power play.
“I’ve known Jeff over the years from clinics and at the world championships,” Bylsma said.
After the U.S. team’s success in Denmark, Blashill liked the idea of Bylsma joining the staff. Bylsma agreed to a three-year contact with the Red Wings.
He’ll be working with the Red Wings’ power play and forwards, somewhat of a change for Bylsma, who earned a reputation as a strong defensive player during his playing days.
He laughed when I reminded him of his reputation as a defensive-orientated player. “I coached the power play when I was an assistant coach with the New York Islanders,” he reminded me.