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John Gruden | Head Coach

John Gruden of the Flint Firebirds. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Gruden, 46, served as the inaugural head coach for the Flint Firebirds during the 2015-2016 season. Recently, he also served as assistant coach for Team USA at the 2016 U18 World Championships in Grand Forks, ND.

Prior to coaching in the Ontario Hockey League, Gruden spent four seasons (2011-15) as an assistant coach at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. During this time, Gruden helped lead Team USA to gold-medal finishes at both the 2012 and 2014 U18 Men’s World Championships.

The Virginia, Minn., native previously served as head coach and director of player personnel for the Oakland (Mich.) Junior Grizzlies AAA hockey team. Gruden was also head coach at Stoney Creek (Mich.) High School (2007-10) and Brother Rice Prep School (2005-07) in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Gruden has extensive experience playing professionally for 10 seasons, with stops in the National Hockey League, American Hockey League, International Hockey League and in Europe. He also represented the U.S. internationally at the 2003 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship in Helsinki, Tampere, and Turku, Finland.

Prior to playing professionally, Gruden attended Ferris State University, (1990-94) where he played in 155 games and registered 104 points (40 goals, 64 assists). He became the first NCAA Division I All-American in Ferris State Athletics history as a result of being named to the American Hockey Coaches Association’s (AHCA) All-America Team in 1993-94. He also was the first player in 12 years in the history of the school to achieve Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) First-Team honors and finished as the runner-up for the CCHA’s Player of the Year Award.