GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Curt Fraser is now an assistant coach with the Dallas Stars, the team announced Monday.
Fraser is the longest-tenured leader of the Griffins. He ends his four-year run in Grand Rapids with a record of 146-130-18-22, ranking first in franchise history in both regular season games coached (316) and wins (146).
"The Griffins are a first-class organization, and Dan DeVos and (co-owner and chairman) David Van Andel have been fantastic to work for," said Fraser. "They trusted me with their team.
"Grand Rapids is a great place to live, the arena is second to none, and the fan support that the Griffins receive is excellent. It certainly makes it a lot of fun to have that much energy in the building. It's just a great group in Grand Rapids, and I can't thank everyone enough for the last four years."
Fraser's most successful campaign was his debut season of 2008-09 when he led Grand Rapids to an impressive 43-25-6-6 regular season mark -- a 28-point improvement in the standings from the prior season.
Additionally, Fraser played a major role in developing 20 players for the Detroit Red Wings since 2008, including current regulars such as Justin Abdelkader, Cory Emmerton, Jonathan Ericsson, Darren Helm, Jimmy Howard, Jakub Kindl and Jan Mursak, and budding stars like Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, Brendan Smith and Tomas Tatar.
"I've had the pleasure of knowing Curt since the mid-90s when he was with the Orlando Solar Bears," Dan DeVos, co-owner, president and CEO of the Griffins, said in a news release. "More than just a fine coach, he has been a great representative for the Griffins over these last four years, setting an example for both our players and our staff with his tremendous attitude and his desire to positively impact people's lives. We're thrilled to see him return to the NHL and wish him nothing but the best with the Stars."
A timetable for hiring Fraser's replacement is being established. As part of the Griffins' new five-year extension of their affiliation with the Red Wings, the parent club will be responsible for identifying candidates and selecting the Griffins' ninth head coach in 17 seasons.
Fraser follows in the NHL footsteps of Guy Charron (1998-00) and Bruce Cassidy (2000-02), who each spent two seasons behind the Griffins' bench before earning positions with the Anaheim Ducks (assistant) and Washington Capitals (head), respectively.
After compiling a tremendous head coaching resume in the International Hockey League during the 1990s, Fraser was named the first head coach of the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers on July 14, 1999. He spent three seasons behind the expansion team's bench and helped the Thrashers' 2000-01 squad improve by 21 points during its debut season.
Fraser's NHL resume also includes stints as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders in 2003-04 and St. Louis Blues in 2005-06.
He joined the Griffins as their eighth head coach on July 23, 2008 after spending two years (2006-08) as the head coach of the Belarus national men's team, posting a 23-12-5 record and qualifying for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
"We feel that that the depth of Curt's experience in the game speaks for itself, including a four-year run as an NHL head coach,' said Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk. "That experience will be an invaluable asset to our organization, and his dynamic personality will be a great complement to (head coach) Glen Gulutzan, (assistant coach) Paul Jerrard and the rest of our team."
Fraser's experience includes playing in the National Hockey League. He was the Vancouver Canucks' second pick (22nd overall) in the 1978 NHL Draft, and spent his entire 12-year playing career (1978-90) as a left wing in the league. He accumulated 433 points (193-240 -- 433) and 1,306 penalty minutes in 704 contests with Vancouver, the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota North Stars, highlighted by a personal-best 29-goal, 68-point season with the Blackhawks in 1985-86 and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals with the Canucks in 1982.
Bethany Murk, 48, was arrested Thursday following a drug bust in Van Buren County.
Flags were lowered to half-staff across South Africa and people in black townships, in upscale mostly white suburbs and in the country's vast rural grasslands commemorated Nelson Mandela with song, tears and prayers on Friday while …
The victim driver could face charges, and alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash, police said.