The 2018-19 season is Ken Gaffney’s 10th season as head coach of the Lawrence Technological University Blue Devils hockey program. Gaffney has transformed the Blue Devil hockey in many ways since his first season back in 2009. Taking it from a club team now to a varsity program that boasts two varsity teams and fifty-six players in the program with more developments to come.
Coach Gaffney is responsible for all aspects of the program including being the head coach for both varsity teams; LTU Blue and LTU White. Main areas of responsibilities include scouting, player acquisition, financial budgets, scheduling, travel, player development, game management, academic oversight, marketing and alumni relations.
In each of his seasons as head coach of the Blue Devils, the program has seen positive advancements. Transforming Hockey from club to varsity, from one team to two teams, and now plans to field a third team soon. The program has also seen an increasing player roster from 24 players to now 56 players and soon to 80 hockey players on campus. On the ice, the program has been ranked top 15 in the ACHA North and top 50 in the Nation (140 teams) for the past five seasons. In the 2015-16 season LTU finished ranked 8th in a tough ACHA North Region and top 20 in the Nation. In 2016 Gaffney helped advance the Blue Devils to their second ever ACHA North Regional playoffs. LTU eventually lost to Aquinas College, the 2016 National Runner Up. The 2015 MCHC playoffs saw Gaffney bring home the first ever playoff win for the Blue Devils in what is considered, by many, the nation’s toughest conference. Whether on ice or off the ice, the Blue Devils program continues to improve.
Gaffney created a Coach’s Association of NAIA Hockey programs to begin the pursuit of hockey under the NAIA. Gaffney, along with five other universities has worked closely with the ACHA leadership to form a new varsity division within the ACHA, called NAIA Division. This small group is the pioneers of what will be a new opportunity in college hockey. This new opportunity is the beginning steps of restoring college hockey under the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). This results in one of the biggest changes in college hockey in over a generation.
Coach Gaffney has been a coach for twenty years. A head coach for eighteen seasons and has coached across the full spectrum of ages and skill levels. Prior to taking the Blue Devil Head Coaching position, Gaffney coached the Motor City Junior Chiefs and prior to that founded the Father Gabriel Richard High School Hockey program. During those many years, Gaffney has also coached nationally regarded Tier I AAA youth programs such as Compuware, Honey Baked and Victory Honda. Winner of many championships, Gaffney still points to his player development and moving players on to their next level as his biggest accomplishments. Gaffney has had the privilege of coaching several players that have advanced high in the hockey ranks; 2 professional, 10 NCAA D-I, 8 to NCAA D-III, 14 USHL, 17 NAHL and dozens to other Junior and ACHA programs.
Gaffney played his Junior hockey for both Paddock Pools Saints and Redford Royals in 1980 and 1981 in the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League (GLJHL) which is now called the NAHL. He completed his playing career at University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-D) from 1981 to 1984. At the time UM-D was an athletic scholarship varsity program under the NAIA. Gaffney made the transition from playing center his whole playing career to defense at UM-D. He was given Honorable Mention at the NAIA National Tournament following a successful freshman season. Battled by a rash of serious injuries, Gaffney’s playing career ended early at UM-D, but his coaching career soon took root.
Gaffney has specific goals for the Blue Devils Hockey program. Make LTU a destination for highly skilled hockey players, compete annually for a National Championships, grow the program to three Men’s varsity teams and One Women’s varsity team, be a model program that LTU and its supporters are proud of, and to foster the University edicts of Enrollment, Retention and Graduation to the highest level. Gaffney is often heard saying, “The only thing better than going to college, is playing hockey for your college… Blue Devil Hockey!”
Gaffney grew up in Inkster Michigan before relocating to Dearborn Heights, MI during his high school years. A graduate of University of Michigan-Dearborn where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. Currently Gaffney resides in Plymouth, MI with his beautiful wife, Maureen, and four children; Lauren, Sean, Connor and Kyle.