Jeff played college ice hockey as a goaltender at Ferris State University for the Bulldogs from 1994 to 1998. He earned team Rookie of the Year honors in 1994 and was named to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) All-Academic Team in 1997.
Prior to his collegiate career, Jeff played at the junior level for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) from 1991 to 1994.
After his playing career ended, Jeff joined Ferris State's Bulldogs team as an assistant coach in 1999. He remained there for three seasons before joining Miami University as an assistant coach for the RedHawks in 2002.
In 2008, Jeff was named head coach and general manager of the Indiana Ice, a Tier 1 junior hockey team in the USHL. In his first season, the Ice won the Clark Cup as USHL champions. He was later named head coach of Western Michigan University's Broncos team on April 6, 2010.
In his first season as head coach, Jeff led Western Michigan to a top-four finish in the CCHA, the CCHA Championship game and the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, the most successful season for the University in 15 years.
After the season, he was named USCHO Coach of the Year, Inside College Hockey Coach of the Year and College Hockey News Coach of the Year.
In July 2011, after one season at the helm of the Broncos, Jeff accepted an assistant coaching position with the NHL's Detroit Red Wings under Head Coach Mike Babcock.
On June 25, 2012, it was announced that Jeff will become the head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the top minor league affiliate of the Red Wings in the American Hockey League (AHL). He replaced Curt Fraser, who had accepted an assistant coaching position with the Dallas Stars of the NHL.
Jeff was replaced on the Red Wings staff by NHL veteran assistant Tom Renney. On June 18, 2013, the Griffins (under Jeff) won the Calder Cup as AHL champions for the first time in club history.
In his second season with Grand Rapids, Jeff was awarded the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL's most outstanding coach for the 2013–14 season.
In two seasons as head coach, he guided the Griffins to a combined 88–48–2–12 record. During Jeff's tenure, Griffins posted three separate seven-game winning streaks while never losing more than two consecutive games in regulation.
On June 4, 2014, it was announced that Jeff had agreed to a new three-year contract with the Red Wings organization through to the 2016–17 season to coach the Griffins.
With a win over the Rockford IceHogs on April 1, 2015, Jeff became the first coach in Griffins franchise history to post three 40-win seasons and three 90-point seasons.
In three seasons with the Griffins, Jeff compiled a 134–71–12–11 regular season record and won seven of nine AHL playoff series. He is the only coach in Griffins history to qualify for the Calder Cup playoffs in three consecutive seasons.
Following the departure of Detroit Head Coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jeff was named head coach of the Red Wings on June 9, 2015.
|Indiana Ice||USHL||2008–09||60||39||19||0||2||Clark Cup champions|
|Indiana Ice||USHL||2009–10||60||33||24||0||3||Lost in semifinals|
|Western Michigan University||CCHA||2010–11||42||19||13||10||0||NCAA Tournament first round|
|Grand Rapids Griffins||AHL||2012–13||76||42||26||0||8||Calder Cup champions|
|Grand Rapids Griffins||AHL||2013–14||76||46||23||0||7||Lost in semifinals|
|Grand Rapids Griffins||AHL||2014–15||76||46||22||0||8||Lost in conference finals|
|Minor League Career Totals||6 seasons||390||225||127||10||28|
Jeff was raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, where his father Jim was a professor at nearby Lake Superior State University. Jim had originally worked as a police officer in Detroit and served as a professor of criminal justice at LSSU for over 30 years.
Jeff's brother, Tim Blashill, also played and coached college hockey. He currently coaches high school hockey in Big Rapids, Michigan, and also serves as program coordinator for Ferris State University's Ewigleben Arena.
Jeff and his wife Erica live in East Grand Rapids with their three children: Teddy, Josie and Owen.