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2012-13 SEASON ISSUE NO. 1

OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS

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B Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

Vol. 17, No. 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

21

STARTING LINEUP

21 MICHIGAN BORN & BRED From growing up in the Upper Peninsula to his various coaching stints across the state, Jeff Blashill thinks his Michigan roots will serve him well in his new job as the head coach of the Griffins. 28 NEVER SAY NEVER Going from walk-on to captain of the Michigan Wolverines, East Grand Rapids’ Luke Glendening defied the odds. His next goal: playing pro hockey in his hometown. 36 ONE DAY AT A TIME Francis Pare wants to maintain a singular focus this season: helping the Griffins drive toward a playoff spot.

28

48 MAGNUM FORCE Mitch Callahan knows his role and feels lucky anytime he’s asked to play the enforcer. 57 MAN OF MANY HATS As the overseer of business operations for the Griffins, Tim Gortsema is one busy guy.

ON THE BENCH 2............Next Opponents 5............Chalk Talk 6............Coming Attractions 9............Griffins Schedule 12.........AHL Tradition 14.........AHL Team Directory 18.........It Feels Good to Connect 19.........Detroit Red Wings 25.........In Memoriam: Bryan Rufenach 26.........Promotional Calendar

40.........Meet the Griffins 43.........Griffins Youth Foundation 61.........Community Crease 65.........Griffins Records 68.........Penalty Calls 70.........Griffins History 74.........Arena Map/Ticket Info 76.........It All Starts Here 79.........Kids Page 80.........Parting Shot

COVER:

Jeff Blashill stands next to “Made in Michigan,” a sculpture by Grandville, Mich., artist Joe Krajkiewcz that was made from reclaimed barn wood and aluminum. Discover more at joekrajkiewcz.com.

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48

Photo by Mark Newman Griffiti magazine is published four times a year by the Grand Rapids Griffins, Van Andel Arena, 130 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids, MI 49503. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All contents ©2012 Grand Rapids Griffins. For advertising information, contact Griffins Sales & Marketing, (616) 774-4585; fax (616) 336-5464. Unsolicited manuscripts and other materials will not be returned.

57

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 1

PLAYERS TO WATCH

UPCOMING HOME OPPONENTS MILWAUKEE (Oct. 12, Nov. 7, Nov. 25)

The Admirals are welcoming the return of Juuso Puustinen, who skated in 55 games as a rookie before suffering a season-ending foot injury from blocking a shot last March. Originally drafted in the fifth round (149th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames, the current Nashville Predators prospect is a reliable two-way forward with good offensive skills. A native of Kuopio, Finland, the 24-year-old Puustinen scored 16 goals with 16 assists and was minus-five with eight penalty minutes last season.

HAMILTON (Oct. 13)

The Bulldogs are hoping Ian Schultz will continue to improve his overall game as the rugged forward attempts to contribute more offensively rather than just by using his fists. A native of Calgary, Alberta, the 22-year-old Montreal Canadiens prospect tallied six goals and 17 assists in 2011-12, a season shortened by a knee injury. Originally chosen by the St. Louis Blues in the third round (87th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, he is the younger brother of Washington Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz. 2 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

CHARLOTTE (Oct. 26)

The Checkers will once again rely on the big body of Brett Bellemore, a 6-foot-4, 218-pound stay-athome defenseman who is willing to drop the gloves. Bellemore was a steady presence in the lineup last season for Charlotte, not missing a single contest on the way to a career-high 76 games played. Selected in the sixth round (162nd overall) by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the 24-year-old Windsor, Ontario, native excels when he relies on sound positioning and consistent effort.

ROCKFORD (Oct. 27, Nov. 9)

The IceHogs like the physical play of Ryan Stanton, a 23-year-old defenseman who was signed by the Chicago Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent in 2010. A native of St. Albert, Alberta, Stanton emerged as Rockford’s Most Improved Player during his rookie season in 2010-11, when he tallied three goals and 14 assists in 73 games. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Stanton repeated those same point totals last season, when he appeared in all 76 games.

CHICAGO (Nov. 23)

The Wolves will push Stefan Schneider to tap his offensive potential, as the 22-year-old center enters his third season in the AHL. Signed by the Vancouver Canucks in 2010 as an undrafted free agent, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound center is valued for his forechecking and defensive abilities. During the 2010-11 season, he demonstrated his versatility when he spent some time playing defense for the Manitoba Moose when injuries or call-ups left the club short on the blueline.

TEXAS (Nov. 30, Dec. 1)

The Stars hope 21-year-old defenseman Hubert Labrie will continue to make progress after missing most of the 2010-11 season with a knee injury. A native of Victoriaville, Quebec, Labrie was signed by the Dallas Stars as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He showed his toughness during his final season in junior hockey, when he led the Gatineau Olympiques to the championship series despite breaking his hand in the first game of the playoffs.

PEORIA (Dec. 5)

The Rivermen are excited about the blossoming talents of Cade Fairchild, a 23-year-old defenseman who played four seasons at the University of Minnesota. A fourth-round pick (96th overall) of the St. Louis Blues in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Fairchild is a product of the U.S. National Team development program. He was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team last season, when he tallied eight goals and 26 assists in 68 games. Fairchild was also recalled four times by the Blues in 2011-12, appearing in five NHL games. Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 3

HUNTINGTON CELEBRATES

4 Grand Rapids MemberGRIFFINS FDIC. Huntington® is a federally registered service mark of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated. Huntington.® Welcome.TM is a service mark of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated. ©2012 Huntington Bancshares Incorporated.

CHALK TALK WITH GRIFFINS HEAD COACH JEFF BLASHILL Photo: Occam Photography

If there were any doubts about the importance of naming Jeff Blashill as the new head coach of the Griffins, Red Wings assistant general manager of hockey administration Ryan Martin laid them aside when Detroit made the official announcement this past summer. “The AHL coach is a critical person in an NHL team’s organizational chart,” Martin said. “The AHL coach has to wear many hats – he has to be a leader, a disciplinarian, a guidance counselor, a parent, a psychiatrist and a teacher. In our opinion, Jeff is uniquely qualified to guide our young prospects and, having coached in the NHL, he knows what it takes to play at the highest level.” Blashill, who comes to Grand Rapids after one year in Detroit as a Red Wings assistant coach, is anxious to get to work. “Winning is having a special group of players whose character is defined by their inner drive to be great, their highly competitive nature and their selflessness,” he said. “I know those are the ingredients to be successful because I saw it in Detroit.” As the head coach, Blashill believes it’s his responsibility to make sure his players have every opportunity to succeed. “I believe a coach’s job is to set extremely high standards and then demand that the players meet that standard. I don’t think that changes wherever you go,” Blashill said. For some players, the arrival of a new coach will mean an opportunity for a fresh start. “I’ll make my own judgments based on what I see and what I know,” he said. “Now, part of what I know is based on a guy’s reputation. That’s the reality. However, I’m stubborn enough to make my own decisions. If a guy’s had a rough go before, he will have a clean slate to make a totally different impression on me.” Blashill laid out the foundation of his coaching philosophy. He values puck possession (“Treat

the puck like gold”), strong forechecking and backchecking (“Make the opposition earn every inch of ice”) and relentless aggressiveness (“Every time your opponent touches the puck, be in their face”). Blashill believes if players are willing to work, they put their team in a position to win. “Winning in this league is not easy,” he said. “However, I don’t think winning is rocket science. I do think there’s a simple formula. It takes greater commitment, stronger work ethic and more attention to detail on a daily basis than most people are willing to give.” Blashill is thankful for the return of Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek, who provides more than a measure of continuity as the new coach implements his systems. “I’m really lucky that he’s staying on board because he brings a wealth of experience,” Blashill said. “Before he started coaching, he spent a number of years playing pro at different levels for different coaches. Plus, it’s not often that you get to work with someone who has won two Stanley Cups.” Blashill looks for a highly competitive AHL this season. “Like most leagues today, the competition is extremely tight,” he said. “There’s not a huge difference between the best team and the team that misses the playoffs. Every point is extremely important, and a good start will help us build confidence. For the Griffins to excel, Blashill believes the team will need a balanced attack. “People ask me if I’m offense or defense, and I believe you can be both. A good offense comes from good defense, and vice versa. You need both to win.” Whether the Griffins are ultimately stronger in one facet of the game or the other, Blashill makes one promise. “We’re going to play an exciting brand of hockey, and the most exciting kind is when you win a lot.”

“I believe a

coach’s job is

to set extremely high standards and then

demand that the players meet

that standard.”

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 5

COMING ATTRACTIONS GIVEAWAYS GALORE

When did it all start? Some might point to Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press, who produced the first calendar printed with moveable type for the year 1448. But the modern wall calendar traces its roots to Joseph Salmon, a postcard printer who came up with the idea of using pictures on “turnover” pages in 1909. The first Salmon calendars – the company is still in business today – were printed on postcard board bound with ribbon at the top. Spiral and “wire-o” binding was invented in 1940s during the era when pinup calendars found favor with troops stationed overseas. Today, you can find a calendar to match any whim, whether you’re a fan of Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake or Justin Verlander. Every new year offers new editions, and Griffins fans are not going to be left out in the cold. Thanks to Delta Imports, a Griffins calendar giveaway is set for two dates: Saturday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 27, when the Griffins are scheduled to meet the Hamilton Bulldogs and Rockford IceHogs, respectively. In fact, the Griffins have a whole series of giveaways planned for 2012-13, starting with LED glow stix for the season opener. On the immediate horizon are a Griffins poster and puzzle giveaway presented by Milestones Child Development Center on Sunday, Nov. 25, and a holiday ornament giveaway – think Griff dressed in Ralphie’s pink bunny suit from A Christmas Story – on Scout Night presented by United Bank on Dec. 1. 6 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

More giveaway dates can be found on page 26 of Griffiti. Nov. 7: 12th Annual Matinee Game All together now: “SpongeBob! SquarePants! SpongeBob! SquarePants!” The chant from the cartoon series is bound to be heard at least once or twice during the 12th annual Matinee Game, which draws thousands of students from schools across the area. Once again, the Griffins will encourage learning as well as fun with interactive and educational displays throughout the concourse for elementary and high school students. Elementary kids will discover topics centered on health and fitness through various displays and hands-on activities set up by Grand Valley State University, while several speakers will educate high school students on various opportunities. The game will then face off at its new 11 a.m. start time. Nov. 23: Teddy Bear Toss

Photo: Bobby Pulte

Make a date to attend several Griffins games this season, as the organization has a full calendar of freebies for fans. From calendars spotlighting your hometown sports team to celebrity calendars featuring your favorite actor or musical artist, there is big business in the printing of 12 months of bound pages.

Fans are encouraged to bring a new, store-tagged teddy bear or stuffed animal to throw on the ice when the Griffins score their first goal. All stuffed animals collected will be donated to Hug-A-Bears of Kent County. Started in 1994, Hug-A-Bears serves a number of local organizations, including DeVos Children’s Hospital, Gilda’s Club, Hospice for Children, Indian Trails Camp, Project Rehab, Saint John’s Home, YWCA Domestic Crisis Center and various funeral homes and nursing homes. The Nov. 23 game against longtime rival Chicago Wolves also marks another Friday when fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last.

Wherever life takes you in the Grand Rapids metro area, The Rapid has an easy, low-cost way to get you there. For more information visit www.ridetherapid.org.

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 7

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All times Eastern. Games broadcast Dates, opponents and times subject to change. live on

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ABB – Abbotsford CHA – Charlotte CHI – Chicago HAM – Hamilton HOU – Houston LE – Lake Erie MIL – Milwaukee

OKC – Oklahoma City PEO – Peoria RCH – Rochester RFD – Rockford SA – San Antonio TEX – Texas TOR – Toronto

TO PURCHASE TICKETS OR FOR MORE INFO, VISIT GRIFFINSHOCKEY.COM OR CALL 1.800.2.HOCKEY Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 9

Dear Grand Rapids Griffins Fans, For many people, spring is the season of renewal. The days get warmer, the grass starts to grow, birds return to the sky, and leaves begin to fill the trees. But for hockey fans and teams, autumn is that cherished time of rebirth. The nights get crisp, a new ice sheet is built, the latest crop of rookies mixes with the veterans, and fans flock to the arena to support their favorite team. Yes, another Griffins season – our 17th overall and 11th as the Detroit Red Wings’ affiliate – is upon us, and we are excited about everything that the next nine months have in store. To begin with, renewal is a very appropriate word this season, as we’ve extended our Red Wings affiliation agreement through 2017 and our Van Andel Arena lease through 2037, securing two building blocks of our organization’s success and stability for many years to come. Continuity will also be evident on the ice. NHL-ready players such as Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith could return for extended action in Grand Rapids this season, while longtime Griffins like Francis Pare and Tomas Tatar should continue their storied offensive production. Renewal also denotes change, and perhaps the most notable for 2012-13 is behind our bench, as Jeff Blashill begins his first season as our head coach following Curt Fraser’s departure to the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Geographically speaking, no Griffins coach has ever had such extensive and wide-ranging ties to the state of Michigan as Blashill. Born in Detroit and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, he played goal and later served as an assistant coach for Ferris State, oversaw a resurgence of Western Michigan’s program in 2010-11, then spent last year as a Red Wings assistant coach under Mike Babcock. Another new face with local ties is forward Luke Glendening, an East Grand Rapids resident and University of Michigan graduate who looks to become the first native of Greater Grand Rapids to wear a Griffins uniform. Other rookies to watch include goalie Petr Mrazek and forwards Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan. Of course, the most significant names in our organization’s continued success are those not mentioned here. Every Griffins fan has played a role in two remarkable accomplishments for our franchise: our tradition of Opening Night sellouts, and our achievement of average attendance increases in five of the last six seasons. Regardless of what changes from year to year, your fantastic support has always been a constant, and one of the reasons we so look forward to each new hockey season. On behalf of the entire Griffins organization, thank you for your unmatched support. I hope you enjoy everything this season has to offer. Sincerely,

Dan DeVos President & CEO Grand Rapids Griffins

10 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

DAVID A. ANDREWS

PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE

American Hockey League

One Monarch Place – Springfield, MA 01144 Phone: (413) 781-2030 Fax: (413) 733-4767

Dear Fans, It is my great pleasure to welcome you to another exciting season of American Hockey League action. We are proud to be entering our 77th season of continuous play, bringing a tradition of excellence and an entertaining, physical, and highly skilled level of play to more than 6 million hockey fans annually across North America. Once again in 2012-13, there are 30 teams competing for the historic Calder Cup championship and all 30 National Hockey League clubs are developing their top prospects and draft picks in the AHL. Last season more than 200 first- and second-round NHL draft picks competed in the American Hockey League, and 329 players took the ice in both the AHL and the NHL. We continue to be proud of our tradition of developing the best hockey talent in the world, with over 88 percent of today’s NHL players, coaches and officials having honed their skills in the American Hockey League. Our loyal and passionate fans through the years have enjoyed cheering for more than 100 future Hockey Hall of Famers, and have rooted for more than 100 Calder Cup champions who would go on to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup as well. The Norfolk Admirals enter this season as the defending Calder Cup champions after capturing the city’s first-ever AHL title last June.This year’s Admirals are looking to hold off 29 other teams whose ultimate goal will also be the 2013 Calder Cup championship. We invite fans from across the league to join us in Providence, R.I. on January 27 and 28 for our annual celebration of AHL excellence as the 2013 Dunkin’ Donuts AHL All-Star Classic comes to one of the league’s most storied cities. On behalf of all of our teams, thank you again for your continuing support and I wish you the utmost enjoyment in following your club through what is sure to be another terrific season. Sincerely,

David A. Andrews President & Chief Executive Officer American Hockey League /TheAHL

theahl.com

@TheAHL

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 11

HISTORY

The American Hockey League is enjoying its 77th season

of play in 2012-13, continuing a tradition of excellence that began in 1936 when the Canadian-American Hockey League merged with the International Hockey League to form what is today known as the AHL. Eight teams hit the ice that first season,playing in Buffalo,Cleveland,New Haven,Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence, Springfield and Syracuse.

A Tradition of Excellence Est. 1936

Frank Calder, the National Hockey League’s president at the time, was instrumental in the forming of the new league, and his name would be given to its championship trophy. The first Calder Cup was won by the Syracuse Stars in 1937; the 76th championship was captured by the Norfolk Admirals last spring. LEGENDS

Photo: HHOF

Over the past three-quarters of a century, the American Hockey

Billy Smith Honored Member, Hockey Hall of Fame 1971 Calder Cup Champion

League has been home to some of the greatest players in the history of our sport. In fact, more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame have been affiliated with the AHL during their careers. All-time greats like George Armstrong, Toe Blake, Gump Worsley, Terry Sawchuk, Glenn Hall, Brad Park, Ken Dryden and Brett Hull came through the AHL ranks and now find themselves enshrined in Toronto, and the coveted Calder Cup trophy is inscribed with the names of legendary AHL alumni like Patrick Roy, Larry Robinson, Gerry Cheevers, Andy Bathgate,Tim Horton, Al Arbour, Emile Francis, Doug Harvey and Billy Smith.

The American Hockey League has created its own legends as well,

and in 2006 began honoring them with the formation of the AHL Hall of Fame. The seventh class of inductees, recognized in 2012, included Joe Crozier, Jack Gordon, John Stevens and Zellio Toppazzini.They join the likes of Johnny Bower, Fred Glover, Jody Gage, Mitch Lamoureux, Willie Marshall, Frank Mathers, Eddie Shore, Bruce Boudreau, Tim Tookey and others as distinguished members of the American Hockey League Hall of Fame.

In today’s National Hockey League, more than 88 percent of the Photo: Los Angeles Kings

players are AHL alumni, including 2012 Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Selke Trophy recipient Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins.The 2012 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings were stocked with AHL graduates as well, among them Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Dustin Penner, Jarret Stoll, Willie Mitchell and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick. Jonathan Quick 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy Winner

12 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

PLAYERS

During the 2011-12 season, more than 850 AHL alumni played in the

COACHES

Photo: AHL Archives

National Hockey League, including 329 who skated in both leagues last year alone. Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle, Ottawa’s Jason Spezza and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux were among the 11 AHL graduates who led their NHL teams in scoring, and former AHL All-Stars Pekka Rinne, Kari Lehtonen and Ryan Miller were among the 28 AHL goaltending alumni who paced their NHL clubs in victories. More than 200 former first- and second-round draft picks developed their skills in the AHL last season, including 2012 AHL All-Stars Kyle Palmieri, Thomas Hickey, Brandon Pirri, Colby Robak, Alex Plante and Zack Kassian.

Former AHL forward Claude Giroux finished third in the NHL scoring race with 93 points for the Flyers in 2011-12.

At the start of the 2012-13 season, the NHL featured 22 head coaches who were former AHL

bench bosses, including recent Stanley Cup champions Claude Julien (Boston, 2011), Joel Quenneville (Chicago, 2010), Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh, 2009), Mike Babcock (Detroit, 2008), Randy Carlyle (Anaheim, 2007), Peter Laviolette (Carolina, 2006) and John Tortorella (Tampa Bay, 2004). “The American Hockey League has been essential in developing my potential both as a player and as a coach. Being able to hone my skills and improve at a high level of competition was key to reaching my goals of playing in the NHL, becoming a head coach and winning the Stanley Cup.” -- Dan Bylsma, Head Coach, Pittsburgh Penguins 2011 Jack Adams Award Winner, 2009 Stanley Cup Champion

Attendance was up nearly 5 percent in 2011-12 as 6.4 million fans FANS

Photo: John Wright

attended games; since 2001,AHL games have been played before more than 72 million fans in arenas across North America. The Hershey Bears paced the league for the sixth year in a row, averaging 9,872 fans per game last season, and outdoor showcases in Philadelphia (45,653 - an all-time AHL record) and Hamilton (20,565 - largest ever for AHL in Canada) set league attendance marks. The Norfolk Admirals set a franchise single-season attendance record in 2011-12 en route to their first Calder Cup championship.

STARS

The AHL All-Star Classic showcases the league’s top talent each

Of the 597 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 92 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Dan Boyle, Daniel Briere, Ryan Callahan, Brian Campbell, Chris Kunitz, Zach Parise, Bobby Ryan, Martin St. Louis, Eric Staal and Tomas Vokoun. /TheAHL

theahl.com

PhotoGraphics Photography/AHL

year in an All-Star Skills Competition and All-Star Game. The 2013 Dunkin’ Donuts AHL All-Star Classic will be held in Providence, R.I., on January 27-28, featuring the Eastern Conference All-Stars battling the Western Conference All-Stars in an event to be televised live across the U.S. and Canada.

Ben Bishop 2012 AHL All-Star Game MVP

@TheAHL Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 13

2012-13 AHL DIRECTORY

EASTERN CONFERENCE

ATLANTIC DIVISION: Manchester, Portland, Providence, St. John’s, Worcester NORTHEAST DIVISION: Adirondack, Albany, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Springfield EAST DIVISION: B inghamton, Hershey, Norfolk, Syracuse, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

ADIRONDACK PHANTOMS

NHL AFFILIATION: Philadelphia Flyers HOME ICE: Glens Falls Civic Center (4,816) GENERAL MANAGER: Paul Holmgren HEAD COACH: Terry Murray ENTERED AHL: 1996-97 (as Philadelphia Phantoms) CALDER CUPS: Two (1998, 2005) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 10 of 16 2011-12 RECORD: 37-35-2-2, 78 pts. WEBSITE: www.phantomshockey.com

ALBANY DEVILS

NHL AFFILIATION: New Jersey Devils HOME ICE: Times Union Center (6,691) GENERAL MANAGER: Chris Lamoriello HEAD COACH: Rick Kowalsky ENTERED AHL: 2006-07 (as Lowell Devils) CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 1 of 6 2011-12 RECORD: 31-34-6-5, 73 pts. WEBSITE: www.thealbanydevils.com

BINGHAMTON SENATORS

NHL AFFILIATION: Ottawa Senators HOME ICE: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena (4,679) PRESIDENT: Tim Smith HEAD COACH: Luke Richardson ENTERED AHL: 2002-03 CALDER CUPS: One (2011) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 4 of 10 2011-12 RECORD: 29-40-5-2, 65 pts. WEBSITE: www.binghamtonsenators.com

BRIDGEPORT SOUND TIGERS

NHL AFFILIATION: New York Islanders HOME ICE: Webster Bank Arena (8,412) GENERAL MANAGER: Garth Snow HEAD COACH: Scott Pellerin ENTERED AHL: 2001-02 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 7 of 11 2011-12 RECORD: 41-26-3-6, 91 pts. WEBSITE: www.soundtigers.com

CONNECTICUT WHALE

NHL AFFILIATION: New York Rangers HOME ICE: XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum (15,635) GENERAL MANAGER: Jim Schoenfeld HEAD COACH: Ken Gernander ENTERED AHL: 1997-98 (as Hartford Wolf Pack) CALDER CUPS: One (2000) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 14 of 15 2011-12 RECORD: 36-26-7-7, 86 pts. WEBSITE: www.ctwhale.com 14 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

HERSHEY BEARS

NHL AFFILIATION: Washington Capitals HOME ICE: Giant Center (10,500) GENERAL MANAGER: Doug Yingst HEAD COACH: Mark French ENTERED AHL: 1938-39 CALDER CUPS: 11 (1947, 1958, 1959, 1969, 1974, 1980, 1988, 1997, 2006, 2009, 2010) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 63 of 74 2011-12 RECORD: 38-26-4-8, 88 pts. WEBSITE: www.hersheybears.com

MANCHESTER MONARCHS

NHL AFFILIATION: Los Angeles Kings HOME ICE: Verizon Wireless Arena (9,852) GENERAL MANAGER: Ron Hextall HEAD COACH: Mark Morris ENTERED AHL: 2001-02 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 10 of 11 2011-12 RECORD: 39-32-2-3, 83 pts. WEBSITE: www.manchestermonarchs.com

NORFOLK ADMIRALS

NHL AFFILIATION: Anaheim Ducks HOME ICE: Norfolk Scope (8,700) GENERAL MANAGER: Bob Murray HEAD COACH: Trent Yawney ENTERED AHL: 2000-01 CALDER CUPS: One (2012) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 9 of 12 2011-12 RECORD: 55-18-1-2, 113 pts. WEBSITE: www.norfolkadmirals.com

PORTLAND PIRATES

NHL AFFILIATION: Phoenix Coyotes HOME ICE: Cumberland County Civic Center (6,733) GENERAL MANAGER: Brad Treliving HEAD COACH: Ray Edwards ENTERED AHL: 1993-94 CALDER CUPS: One (1994) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 14 of 19 2011-12 RECORD: 36-31-4-5, 81 pts. WEBSITE: www.portlandpirates.com

PROVIDENCE BRUINS

NHL AFFILIATION: Boston Bruins HOME ICE: Dunkin’ Donuts Center Providence (11,075) GENERAL MANAGER: Peter Chiarelli HEAD COACH: Bruce Cassidy ENTERED AHL: 1992-93 CALDER CUPS: One (1999) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 15 of 20 2011-12 RECORD: 35-34-3-4, 77 pts. WEBSITE: www.providencebruins.com

SPRINGFIELD FALCONS

NHL AFFILIATION: Columbus Blue Jackets HOME ICE: MassMutual Center (6,789) GENERAL MANAGER: Bruce Landon HEAD COACH: Brad Larsen ENTERED AHL: 1994-95 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 6 of 18 2011-12 RECORD: 36-34-3-3, 78 pts. WEBSITE: www.falconsahl.com

2012-13 AHL DIRECTORY ST. JOHN’S ICECAPS

NHL AFFILIATION: Winnipeg Jets HOME ICE: Mile One Centre (6,247) GENERAL MANAGER: Craig Heisinger HEAD COACH: Keith McCambridge ENTERED AHL: 2011-12 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 1 of 1 2011-12 RECORD: 43-25-5-3 WEBSITE: www.stjohnsicecaps.com

SYRACUSE CRUNCH

NHL AFFILIATION: Tampa Bay Lightning HOME ICE: Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter (6,159) GENERAL MANAGER: Julien BriseBois HEAD COACH: Jon Cooper ENTERED AHL: 1994-95 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 10 of 18 2011-12 RECORD: 37-29-5-5, 84 pts. WEBSITE: www.syracusecrunch.com

WESTERN CONFERENCE MIDWEST DIVISION: Grand Rapids, Chicago, Milwaukee, Peoria, Rockford NORTH DIVISION: Abbotsford, Hamilton, Lake Erie, Rochester, Toronto SOUTH DIVISION: Charlotte, Houston, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Texas

ABBOTSFORD HEAT

NHL AFFILIATION: Calgary Flames HOME ICE: Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre (7,046) GENERAL MANAGER: Jay Feaster HEAD COACH: Troy G. Ward ENTERED AHL: 2009-10 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 2 of 3 2011-12 RECORD: 42-26-3-5, 92 pts. WEBSITE: www.abbotsfordheat.com

CHARLOTTE CHECKERS

NHL AFFILIATION: Carolina Hurricanes HOME ICE: Time Warner Cable Arena (6,800) HEAD COACH/ GENERAL MANAGER: Jeff Daniels ENTERED AHL: 2010-11 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 1 of 2 2011-12 RECORD: 38-29-3-6, 85 pts. WEBSITE: www.gocheckers.com

CHICAGO WOLVES

NHL AFFILIATION: Vancouver Canucks HOME ICE: Allstate Arena (16,692) GENERAL MANAGER: Wendell Young HEAD COACH: Scott Arniel ENTERED AHL: 2001-02 CALDER CUPS: Two (2002, 2008) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 8 of 11 2011-12 RECORD: 42-27-4-3, 91 pts. WEBSITE: www.chicagowolves.com

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS NHL AFFILIATION: Pittsburgh Penguins HOME ICE: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza (8,050) GENERAL MANAGER: Ray Shero HEAD COACH: John Hynes ENTERED AHL: 1999-00 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 11 of 13 2011-12 RECORD: 44-25-2-5, 95 pts. WEBSITE: www.wbspenguins.com

WORCESTER SHARKS

NHL AFFILIATION: San Jose Sharks HOME ICE: DCU Center (5,400) GENERAL MANAGER: Wayne Thomas HEAD COACH: Roy Sommer ENTERED AHL: 2006-07 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 3 of 6 2011-12 RECORD: 31-33-4-8, 74 pts. WEBSITE: www.sharksahl.com

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS

NHL AFFILIATION: Detroit Red Wings HOME ICE: Van Andel Arena (10,834) HEAD COACH: Jeff Blashill ENTERED AHL: 2001-02 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 6 of 11 2011-12 RECORD: 33-32-7-4, 77 pts. WEBSITE: www.griffinshockey.com

HAMILTON BULLDOGS

NHL AFFILIATION: Montreal Canadiens HOME ICE: Copps Coliseum (8,819) GENERAL MANAGER: Marc Bergevin HEAD COACH: Sylvain Lefebvre ENTERED AHL: 1996-97 CALDER CUPS: One (2007) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 12 of 16 2011-12 RECORD: 34-35-2-5, 75 pts. WEBSITE: www.hamiltonbulldogs.com

HOUSTON AEROS

NHL AFFILIATION: Minnesota Wild HOME ICE: Toyota Center (8,939) GENERAL MANAGER: Jim Mill HEAD COACH: John Torchetti ENTERED AHL: 2001-02 CALDER CUPS: One (2003) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 9 of 11 2011-12 RECORD: 35-25-5-11, 86 pts. WEBSITE: www.aeros.com

LAKE ERIE MONSTERS

NHL AFFILIATION: Colorado Avalanche HOME ICE: Quicken Loans Arena (20,093) DIRECTOR OF AHL OPERATIONS: David Oliver HEAD COACH: Dean Chynoweth ENTERED AHL: 2007-08 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 1 of 5 2011-12 RECORD: 37-29-3-7, 84 pts. WEBSITE: www.lakeeriemonsters.com Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 15

2012-13 AHL DIRECTORY MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS

TEXAS STARS

OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS

TORONTO MARLIES

NHL AFFILIATION: Nashville Predators HOME ICE: BMO Harris Bradley Center (17,845) GENERAL MANAGER: Paul Fenton HEAD COACH: Dean Evason ENTERED AHL: 2001-02 CALDER CUPS: One (2004) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 10 of 11 2011-12 RECORD: 40-29-2-5, 87 pts. WEBSITE: www.milwaukeeadmirals.com NHL AFFILIATION: Edmonton Oilers HOME ICE: Cox Convention Center (7,500) GENERAL MANAGER: Bill Scott HEAD COACH: Todd Nelson ENTERED AHL: 2010-11 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 2 of 2 2011-12 RECORD: 45-22-4-5, 99 pts. WEBSITE: www.okcbarons.com

PEORIA RIVERMEN

NHL AFFILIATION: St. Louis Blues HOME ICE: Peoria Civic Center – Carver Arena (9,919) GENERAL MANAGER: Kevin McDonald HEAD COACH: Dave Allison ENTERED AHL: 2005-06 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 3 of 7 2011-12 RECORD: 39-33-2-2, 82 pts. WEBSITE: www.rivermen.net

ROCHESTER AMERICANS

NHL AFFILIATION: Buffalo Sabres HOME ICE: Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial (10,662) GENERAL MANAGER: Darcy Regier HEAD COACH: Ron Rolston ENTERED AHL: 1956-57 CALDER CUPS: Six (1965, 1966, 1968, 1983, 1987, 1996) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 42 of 56 2011-12 RECORD: 36-26-10-4, 86 pts. WEBSITE: www.amerks.com

ROCKFORD ICEHOGS

NHL AFFILIATION: Chicago Blackhawks HOME ICE: BMO Harris Bank Center (5,767) GOVERNOR: Mark Bernard HEAD COACH: Ted Dent ENTERED AHL: 2007-08 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 3 of 5 2011-12 RECORD: 35-32-2-7, 79 pts. WEBSITE: www.icehogs.com

SAN ANTONIO RAMPAGE

NHL AFFILIATION: Florida Panthers HOME ICE: AT&T Center (6,374) GENERAL MANAGER: Michael Santos HEAD COACH: Chuck Weber ENTERED AHL: 2002-03 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 3 of 10 2011-12 RECORD: 41-30-3-2, 87 pts. WEBSITE: www.sarampage.com 16 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

NHL AFFILIATION: Dallas Stars HOME ICE: Cedar Park Center (6,863) GENERAL MANAGER: Scott White HEAD COACH: Willie Desjardins ENTERED AHL: 2009-10 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 2 of 3 2011-12 RECORD: 31-40-3-2, 67 pts. WEBSITE: www.texasstarshockey.com

NHL AFFILIATION: Toronto Maple Leafs HOME ICE: Ricoh Coliseum (7,851) GENERAL MANAGER: Dave Nonis HEAD COACH: Dallas Eakins ENTERED AHL: 2005-06 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 4 of 7 2011-12 RECORD: 44-24-5-3, 96 pts. WEBSITE: www.marlies.ca

2012-13 PLAYOFF FORMAT

Eight teams in each conference will qualify for the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs: The three division winners will be seeded first through third in order of points, and the next five teams in order of points will be seeded fourth through eighth. The conference quarterfinals will be best-of-five series; the conference semifinals, conference finals and Calder Cup Finals will be best-of-seven series. Teams will be re-ordered after the first round so that the highest-remaining seed plays the lowest-remaining seed.

®

It’s what makes champions. At Comerica Bank, we’re proud supporters of the Grand Rapids Griffins. Here’s to a winning 2012-13 season!

comerica.com

Member FDIC. Equal Opportunity Lender. Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 17

18 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

DETROIT

RED WINGS Joakim Andersson

Gustav Nyquist

FOUR MEMBERS OF THE GRIFFINS MADE THEIR NHL DEBUTS WITH THE RED WINGS DURING THE 2011-12 SEASON Now in their 11th season as Detroit’s affiliate – and the first of a five-year extension that runs through 2016-17 – the Griffins have sent 48 players on to play for the Red Wings. Stars such as Jimmy Howard, Valtteri Filppula, Darren Helm and Niklas Kronwall began their pro careers at Van Andel Arena, which has also witnessed some of the greatest names in hockey skate during conditioning stints and Red & White Games. TOP AFFILIATE

Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)

ARENA

Joe Louis Arena Seating Capacity: 20,066

INFO

Phone: (313) 394-7000 www.detroitredwings.com

STANLEY CUPS

1936, 1937, 1943, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008

Riley Sheahan

MANAGEMENT

Brendan Smith

Ken Holland, Executive VP/General Manager Jim Nill, VP/Assistant General Manager Ryan Martin, Asst. GM/Hockey Administration

COACHING STAFF

Mike Babcock, Head Coach Tom Renney, Associate Coach Bill Peters, Assistant Coach Keith McKittrick, Assistant Coach — Video Jim Bedard, Goaltending Coach Chris Osgood, Goaltending Development Coach Aaron Downey, AHL Strength and Conditioning Coach

Photos: Getty Images

GRIFFINS WHO HAVE EARNED THEIR WINGS* Justin Abdelkader, 2008-09 Joakim Andersson, 2011-12 Sean Avery, 2002-03 Ryan Barnes, 2003-04 Patrick Boileau, 2002-03 Darryl Bootland, 2003-04 Fabian Brunnstrom, 2011-12 Ty Conklin, 2011-12 Chris Conner, 2011-12 Aaron Downey, 2008-09 Matt Ellis, 2006-07 Cory Emmerton, 2010-11 Jonathan Ericsson, 2007-08 Valtteri Filppula, 2005-06 Mark Hartigan, 2007-08 Darren Helm, 2007-08 Jimmy Howard, 2005-06 Jiri Hudler, 2003-04 Matt Hussey, 2006-07 Doug Janik, 2009-10 Jakub Kindl, 2009-10 Tomas Kopecky, 2005-06 Niklas Kronwall, 2003-04 Marc Lamothe, 2003-04 Josh Langfeld, 2006-07 Brett Lebda, 2005-06 Ville Leino, 2008-09 Joey MacDonald, 2006-07 Donald MacLean, 2005-06 Darren McCarty, 2007-08 Tom McCollum, 2010-11 Derek Meech, 2006-07 Kevin Miller, 2003-04 Mark Mowers, 2003-04 Jan Mursak, 2010-11 Anders Myrvold, 2003-04 Kris Newbury, 2009-10 Gustav Nyquist, 2011-12 Kyle Quincey, 2005-06 Mattias Ritola, 2007-08 Jamie Rivers, 2003-04 Nathan Robinson, 2003-04 Stacy Roest, 2002-03 Riley Sheahan, 2011-12 Brendan Smith, 2011-12 Garrett Stafford, 2007-08 Tomas Tatar, 2010-11 Jason Williams, 2002-03

* not including conditioning stints for Curtis Joseph (2003-04), Chris Osgood (2005-06), Manny Legace (2005-06), Chris Chelios (200809) and Andreas Lilja (2009-10).

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 19

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MICHIGAN BORN & BRED From growing up in the Upper Peninsula to his various coaching stints across the state, Jeff Blashill thinks his Michigan roots will serve him well in his new job as the head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins. Story by Mark Newman

Talk to almost any coach and you will discover that his coaching philosophy has been formed by the experiences and places he has encountered over the course of his career. Jeff Blashill has zigzagged his way across the map of Michigan, collecting subconscious souvenirs from stops in Sault Ste. Marie, Big Rapids, Kalamazoo and Detroit, along with Great Lakes detours to Oxford, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana. For a young coach who won’t turn 39 until December, Blashill has accumulated miles and miles of experience that he believes will serve him well as he becomes the ninth head coach in the 17-year history of the Grand Rapids Griffins. Born in Detroit, he spent his formative years in Sault Ste. Marie, where Jim and Rosemary Blashill had moved when he was little. They believed it would be a good place to raise their family, which included Jeff ’s older sisters Lisa and Deb and, later, younger brother Tim. The family lived on the campus of Lake Superior State University, where Jim had come to teach criminal justice after 10 years on the force of the Detroit Police Department. Growing up in the Soo meant one thing. “When you’re a young boy, you play hockey,” Blashill said. “The reason I became a hockey player is that simple. I was extremely lucky to grow up in the Soo.” In interviews, his father has claimed that Jeff ’s interest in hockey began before he could even read, that

his devotion to the game was so serious that he didn’t like people cheering because it was distracting. Blashill chuckles at his father’s recollection, doubting its veracity but unable to dispute its accuracy. After all, he remembers being consumed by anything remotely associated with Lakers hockey. “I became a hockey fan before I became a hockey player, and in that sense I was fortunate because I had that exposure to a high level of hockey at a young age,” he said. The family lived an idyllic life among cloistered houses that had once been home to army officers and staff. In the winter, the university maintenance staff built skating rinks so the boys could get out and play. “We also played some mean games of street hockey,” Blashill recalled. Blashill became a goaltender. “I think I was the only one to volunteer in Mite hockey,” he said. “Nobody else wanted to do it, so I stuck with it.” Although he tried other sports, Blashill primarily played hockey and baseball, and he credits his coaches for teaching him the basic values that endure in his coaching philosophy today. “I was fortunate to have a number of great coaches, particularly John Ferroni and Bob Brown, who had a significant impact not only on my development as a hockey player but also as a human being. “The same was true in baseball, with guys like Dan Weaver and Clyde Alaspa. They were hockey parents and baseball coaches – it was all intertwined. Sports Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 21

Photo courtesy of Ferris State University

Blashill was a goaltender at Ferris State University before becoming an assistant coach at the school. can be a great educator for young people if handled correctly, and my coaches taught me the discipline you need to be successful in life. “Winning was certainly important, but it was secondary to the life lessons we learned.” Discipline, of course, often starts at home, and Blashill feels he was truly blessed by his upbringing. Both of his parents worked – his mother, a nurse by training, was an administrator for the Chippewa County Health Department – and they made sure that their children knew the importance of doing your best. “They were both very successful people who understood the balance between personal careers and family,” Blashill said. “It’s something that I’ve always tried to keep in perspective.” Blashill was fortunate to grow up with a group of boys who were, in his words, “very talented and very driven” – seven would ultimately play hockey or baseball at the Division I level. In Blashill’s case, the destination was Ferris State University. Lake Superior State was looking for a goalie, but John Grahame, who had a long NHL career, got the nod ahead of him. “And deservedly so,” Blashill said. “They made the right choice.” At Ferris, Blashill had high hopes. “When I chose Ferris, I had hoped to be part of building the program into a national contender like I had watched Lake Superior do, but we didn’t have as much success.” Blashill was the starting goalie his first two seasons until his game fell apart during his junior year. “I was given every opportunity to succeed and I didn’t,” he said bluntly. “It was 100 percent my fault. I didn’t get the job done. I lost my starting job and didn’t play much after that.” It was the proverbial blessing in disguise. 22 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

Sitting on the bench game after game gave Blashill an opportunity to observe the action in a way that he would never have experienced had he been playing on the ice. He might have felt like the forgotten goalie, but Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels was keeping an eye on him. “About midway through my senior year, he came up to me and asked if I was interested in becoming a coach someday. I thought it might be something I could do – it was either coaching or something in the financial world or law school – and I accepted a position as a volunteer assistant the following year.” Blashill became a full-time assistant after one year. He admits that the transition to coaching was much more difficult than he might have imagined. “I went right from playing to coaching, which presents its own challenges because now you’re coaching guys who were your buddies,” he said. “As a player, coaching looks easy, but I can tell you that I learned very quickly that it wasn’t.” Blashill was eager to make his mark, but he candidly admits now that it was a struggle. “I think I was a below-average coach at the beginning of my career,” he said. “When I see guys I coached during those early years, I almost want to apologize to them.” He learned that it’s one thing to have some ideas in your head and quite another thing to be able to verbalize them in a way that makes sense to a player and enables them to thrive and succeed. “Lucky for me, I had great guidance from Bob and Drew Famulak, and they showed great patience with me,” he said. Blashill stayed at Ferris for eight years, serving as an assistant coach from 1998 to 2002. During that time, he lived in Grand Rapids, where his girlfriend (and now wife) Erica worked in marketing and advertising. Looking back on those years in Grand Rapids, Blashill remembers attending a few Griffins games and watching John Gruden, another Ferris State product. Little did he know that he would one day stand behind the home bench at Van Andel Arena. Blashill left Ferris for Miami University in Ohio, where he would serve as an assistant under RedHawks head coach Rico Blasi. “I had a feeling the team at Ferris the next year was going to be good, so it was hard to leave, especially knowing that you had a lot of your life invested in it. At the same time, I also felt I needed to learn some new things that would be important to my coaching development.” Blashill stayed at Miami for six seasons, the longest he’s stayed in any one place as a coach. “I learned a ton working with Rico and Chris Bergeron. There’s no question they gave me a whole different perspective.” Eventually, Blashill felt the tug to become a head coach. “The opportunities in college hockey were very few at the time, and Paul Skjodt, the owner of the Indiana Ice, had contacted me about coming to be head coach,” he said.

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Blashill led Western Michigan University to its first NCAA tournament berth in 15 years. In fact, Skjodt had to ask Blashill more than once. “I said ‘no’ to him three times before I finally had a feeling in my gut that I was making a mistake,” said Blashill. “I was lucky that he gave me a fourth opportunity, and this time I said ‘yes.’” Blashill compiled a 72-43-5 mark in his two seasons in Indianapolis, leading the Ice to a franchise-record 39 wins and the USHL’s Clark Cup championship in 2008-09. “It was an awesome coaching experience that I think will have a huge impact on my first year in the AHL,” he said. “The USHL is a development league where players want to move on to the next level, and yet it’s also a place where winning is extremely important to the individual franchises. “Like the AHL, you have two simultaneous goals: to develop players to their maximum abilities and to win championships. You also have some of the same roster fluctuations that are present in the AHL, although not to the same extent.” His success in Indiana brought him back to his home state when he accepted the head coaching job at Western Michigan University in 2010. While in Kalamazoo, Blashill led the Broncos to a 19-13-10 record, doubling the team’s win total from 24 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

the previous season and leading the team to its best conference finish (4th) since 1995-96. The Broncos also played in the CCHA championship game for the first time in 25 years and earned their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1996. For his efforts, Blashill was a finalist for CCHA Coach of the Year and was named National Coach of the Year by College Hockey News and Inside College Hockey. It looked like he was well on the way to rebuilding the Broncos program. “One day in June, I received a phone call from (Red Wings head coach) Mike Babcock,” Blashill said. “We had no previous relationship. It was really out of the blue.” It seemed like a chance of a lifetime. “I wanted to coach in the NHL and had told the people at Western as much, but the opportunity just came along a lot faster than I would have previously guessed,” he said. “For someone who was born in Detroit and grew up in Michigan and was a Red Wings fan, it was far too great an opportunity to turn down.” He left Western with mixed feelings. “It was an absolutely outstanding season with so many positive feelings that it felt like I was there more than a year,” he said. “I thought it was a tremendous start to our efforts to build Western Michigan into a national power, and I was excited for the upcoming seasons.” In Detroit, Blashill had to hit the ground running. “There is no patience at that level – you’re there to win, and it’s a win-now level,” he said. “Mike Babcock felt I brought certain talents to the table that could combat my lack of NHL experience.” “To say I wasn’t learning as I went would be a fallacy,” he continued. “I was very fortunate to be with a veteran team with solid leadership, and that certainly helped me in the process of trying to be an effective coach at that level.” The Griffins’ job seems tailored for Blashill, who has proven his ability to develop and motivate young players. It’s the reason that the Red Wings’ front office – Ken Holland, Jim Nill and Ryan Martin – felt Blashill was the ideal choice to replace Curt Fraser, who was named an assistant coach with the Dallas Stars in June after four seasons in Grand Rapids. “Ken, Jim and I had the opportunity to work with Jeff last year in Detroit, and in our opinion, Jeff is one of the brightest and most talented young coaches in all of hockey,” said Martin, assistant general manager of hockey administration for the Red Wings. “He’s energetic, he has a tremendous work ethic, he’s competitive, he’s demanding but compassionate, and he has a great passion for the game of hockey. He’s an excellent teacher and a leader. He was the perfect fit when we were looking for someone to fill this spot.” Blashill admits that he couldn’t have imagined a better situation. “I knew my next step in the coaching ladder was an American Hockey League head coaching job,” said Blashill at his introductory press conference in June. “If I was asked what the perfect scenario for my next job

Photo: Getty Images

Blashill spent last season as an assistant coach with the Red Wings.

would be, I would have stated that it would have been as the head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins.” Being the bench boss of the Griffins affords Blashill the opportunity to keep his ties with the Red Wings organization while having the chance to build a winning team in Grand Rapids. “Every year, every place I’ve been a head coach, the goals have been the same,” Blashill said. “First, we want to maximize player development. Our promise to our players is that we’re going to do everything possible to maximize their development. Secondly, we want to win championships.” “I believe those goals go hand in hand,” he continued. “The more our players improve over the course of the season, the better equipped we will be at the end of the year. And the more our players experience winning, the more they’ll be ready to help Detroit in their goal to win a Stanley Cup.” Like the Griffins players, Blashill intends to relish his time in Grand Rapids. “Coaching is a learned profession just like any other,” Blashill said. “You are the sum of your experiences, from the coaches you worked for and with, as well as your players. Over the years you can only get better.”

In Memoriam In honor of defenseman Bryan Rufenach, who passed away on June 4, 2012 while traveling in Switzerland, the Griffins will wear #44 stickers on their helmets throughout the 2012-13 season. “Bryan was an up-and-coming player in our organization who improved a great deal [last] season and had a bright future ahead of him. He was a really good kid – smart and quiet – who understood his role, worked hard every day he came to the rink and was a pleasure to coach. We’re going to miss him.” – Former Griffins coach Curt Fraser

Bryan Rufenach (1989-2012) Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 25

MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

2012-13 GRIFFINS PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE Oct. 12: Opening Night/LED Glow Stix Giveaway presented by Xfinity Oct. 13: Griffins Calendar Giveaway presented by Delta Imports Oct. 15: 5th Annual Pups & Pucks Fall Walk-a-Thon at Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary Oct. 23: Griffins Booster Club Meet the Team Banquet Oct. 27: Griffins Calendar Giveaway presented by Oct. 15 Delta Imports Nov. 7: 12th Annual Matinee Game (New 11 a.m. start) Nov. 13: Tip-A-Griffin at Uccello’s Restaurants

Nov. 13 Nov. 23: Annual Teddy Bear Toss for Hug-A-Bears of Kent County

Nov. 25: Poster & Puzzle Giveaway presented by Milestones Child Development Center/Appearance by the ZOOperstars

Nov. 25 Dec. 1: Holiday Ornament Giveaway presented by United Bank/Scout Night Dec. 9: Salute to Heroes/ Superhero Cape Giveaway Dec. 22: Griffins Winter Classic Knit Hat Giveaway presented by Centennial Dec. 9 Securities Dec. 30: Griffins’ First-Ever Outdoor Game at Comerica Park Dec. 31: 16th Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration presented by Fox Honda/Post-Game Fireworks/ Jersey Auction Jan. 12: Griffins Scarf Giveaway presented by MetroPCS/Mascot Mania

S E A S O N - L O N G Dollar Beers and Hot Dogs: Every Friday, enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last. Get in the D-ZONE: Every Friday night is a Griffins WGRD D-Zone night. Avoid the concession lines and have your $1 beers and $1 hot dogs served to you in your seats. Call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit griffinshockey. com/dzone to get your tickets today! The D-Zone sevengame pack includes games on Oct. 12, Nov. 9, Dec. 14, Jan. 4, Feb. 15, March 22 and April 19, and the 14-pack includes all Friday games with the exception of Dec. 28. A limited number of single-game four-ticket packages are also available. College Nights: Every Friday, college students can show their ID to purchase an upper bowl ticket for $13 (or $11 in advance at The Zone) and stop by the McFadden’s concourse table to receive a free pass to the post-game party at McFadden’s. Free Ride Friday on The Rapid: Ride the Rapid to and from any Friday game and enjoy a complimentary fare by showing your ticket to that night’s game. Visit ridetherapid.org for schedule information, routes and maps. Wednesday is Hockey Night: After every Wednesday night home game from December through February, show your ticket to that night’s game to receive great food and drink specials at participating downtown 26 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

Jan. 12-13: 11th Annual Great Skate Winterfest at Rosa Parks Circle Jan. 26: Griffins Gnome Giveaway presented by Comerica Bank/Jersey Auction Feb. 2: Gustav Nyquist Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Lake Michigan Credit Union Feb. 4: Griffins Booster Club Silent Auction Feb. 12: 8th Annual Griffins/Sled Wings Sled Hockey Game at Griff’s IceHouse Feb. 17: Faith & Family Night/Appearance by The Conquerors Feb. 19: Reds, Whites & Brews at the Goei Center Feb. 23: Francis Pare Bobblehead Giveaway/ Appearance by The Fur Circus Feb. 24: 2nd Annual Purple Community Game presented by the Van Andel Institute/Jersey Auction March 9: Star Wars Night presented by Consumers Energy March 22: ‘90s Night presented by J&H Family Stores/ Jersey Auction April 13: Fan Vote Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Michigan Office Solutions April 15: Griffins Booster Club Awards Banquet April 19: Season Finale presented by Huntington Bank/Appearance by Super Fan Cameron Hughes/ Jersey Auction

P R O M O T I O N S

restaurants and bars, including Peppino’s Sports Lounge, home of the Griffins’Wednesday post-game parties with the players. Visit griffinshockey.com/hockeynight for a list of participating restaurants. Amway Winning Wednesdays: Every time the Griffins win at home on Wednesday, each fan in attendance will receive a free ticket to the next Wednesday game. Additionally, the first 300 fans to visit the Amway table in Section A will receive a gift. Fans can also enjoy a buyone, get-one-free deal on a 16 oz. Pepsi all night long at any concession stand that sells fountain drinks.

Fan 4 Packs: For select games, receive four tickets and $12 in concession cash for a great low price. Valid for games on Oct. 12; Dec. 1 and 31; Jan. 12; Feb. 2; March 9; and April 13. Visit griffinshockey.com/f4p or call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2. Reading Goals: Children with Griff’s Reading Goals bookmarks who have completed the required three hours of reading can redeem their bookmark for two free upper level tickets to any of the following games: First Half - Nov. 23 and 25; Dec. 9, 19 and 22; Second Half Feb. 6, 17 and 24; March 13; and April 10.

Sunday is Fun Day!: Every Sunday, enjoy $1 Pepsi drinks and $1 ice cream from 3-5 p.m. and a J&H Family Stores post-game open skate.

J&H Family Stores Post-Game Open Skates: Oct. 12; Nov. 25; Dec. 1, 22 and 31; Jan. 26; Feb. 23; March 9; and April 13 and 19.

Military Nights: Every home game this season, current members of our military can purchase up to four upper bowl tickets for $13 each (or $11 in advance at The Zone) with a valid military ID. The offer also extends to veterans who present a VA ID or discharge papers.

Huntington Bank Post-Game Autograph Sessions: Oct. 12 and 13; Dec. 9 and 22; Jan. 12; Feb. 2 and 24; and April 13.

Library Nights: For every Sunday and Wednesday game, fans can present their Grand Rapids Public Library card or Kent District Library card at the Van Andel Arena box office on the night of the game or at The Zone anytime during the store’s regular business hours to save $7 off the price of a Lower Level Faceoff ticket (regularly $18 in advance and $20 day of game). Limit four tickets per card per person, subject to availability.

MOS Corner Office: Presented by Michigan Office Solutions, this section, located on the terrace level above section 118, provides the best seats in the house for groups of up to 30 people, with La-Z-Boy chairs and an array of unprecedented amenities. Call (616) 774-4585. All promotions and dates subject to change. Sunday promotions not in effect for Dec. 30 outdoor game at Comerica Park. For more information, visit griffinshockey.com.

Story by Mark Newman

Going from walk-on to captain of the Michigan Wolverines, East Grand Rapids’ Luke

Glendening defied the odds. His next goal: playing pro hockey in his hometown.

Luke Glendening has never been the biggest, strongest or most talented hockey player on any team, but few have matched his desire and determination. Michigan head coach Red Berenson, who played 17 seasons in the NHL and has sent dozens of players to the NHL over the course of 28 seasons with the Wolverines, said Glendening is the type of player who excels when the odds are against him. “Sometimes when a kid isn’t as high-profile, doesn’t get drafted, doesn’t get all the accolades of other players, he ends up being a harder worker, having a better attitude than kids with more talent,” Berenson said. “Some players thrive on it and it becomes part of their mantra. Luke is one of those players. You never have to remind him to work harder.” 28 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

Ask East Grand Rapids High School football coach Peter Stuursma about Glendening and he will ask you if you have two hours to listen. “Luke has the ‘it’ factor,” Stuursma said. “You can’t explain ‘it.’ You can’t write a Ph.D dissertation on ‘it.’ Glendening’s East But Luke has ‘it.’ Grand Rapids “He’s truly a one-in-afootball highlights million kid. If I had 11 players like Luke, the Chicago Bears wouldn’t have played us. He’s a gifted athlete who puts himself in a position to compete because he never stops working.” “It” is apparently in Glendening’s genes. His father, Tom, now a production scheduler at Amway, was the starting fullback for Bowling Green in the early 1980s. His mother, Leslie, a former cheerleader at Bowling Green, is one of the founders of the Hearts in Step Christian Dance Academy. His younger brother, Joe, was an All-American as a junior running back at Division-II Hillsdale College last fall, racking up 1,604 rushing yards and 31 total touchdowns. His little sister, Mackenzie, now 19, was active in dance before attending Grand Valley State University. “Luke had lots of energy as a young boy,” Tom recalls. “He always had a ball or stick in his hand.”

Still, few colleges seemed interested in the 5-foot10, 185-pound kid because no one had bothered to measure his heart. He had a couple of walk-on offers to play football at Wheaton and Hope, two Division-III Christian colleges, but he really wanted to play hockey. The Glendenings decided to keep Luke’s options open by sending him to Hotchkiss, a Connecticut prep academy that was favored by Ivy League schools like Penn, which indicated it might have a spot for him on its football team. At Hotchkiss, Luke never heard from Penn or, for that matter, any other school. Football season came and went, as did the better part of the hockey season. He began to question his decision. “I felt like I had wasted a year in my life trying to pursue something that was never going to happen,” he said. “I got really homesick and wanted to come home. I thought about quitting, but I didn’t. I stuck it out.” Family and friends offered words of encouragement. There were countless phone calls; one person even sent him tapes of his brother’s football games in an effort to raise his spirits. “They say it takes a village to raise a kid, and Luke’s really been blessed to have the support of the whole community, from his coaches to our extended family and friends,” his father said. “It felt like everybody was rooting for his success.”

Glendening was a three-sport athlete (football, hockey and baseball) at East Grand Rapids High School.

Photo: Grand Rapids Press/MLive

His energy, it seemed, was almost endless. His father sometimes worried that Luke might be pushing himself too hard. He remembers one day in particular when he was still coaching his son in hockey. Luke was 8 or 9 at the time. “We had a morning hockey scrimmage and only seven kids showed up, so Luke was on the ice most of the time. After hockey, we went straight onto the football field and the temperature was like 85 degrees that day. He had a 80-yard run and he was like the horse that won’t quit. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, I’m going to kill this kid if I’m not careful.” Quit was not part of Luke’s vocabulary. As the junior starting fullback for East’s football team, Glendening’s job was to be the lead blocker for senior star running back Kelvin Grady. For the last five weeks of the team’s state title run, Glendening played on one good leg, having suffered a torn meniscus in his knee. “He’d play on Friday or Saturday and he’d rip off 150 yards, score three touchdowns, knock down 25 people paving the way for Kelvin, have an interception, a couple of pass breakups and 12 tackles, and then he’d limp off the field,” Stuursma said. “Hockey players are tough in general, but he’s just so tough and so competitive. He’ll give you that ‘aw, shucks’ attitude, like he’s just doing his job, but put him into a competitive situation and he turns into an absolute werewolf.”

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 29

Photo courtesy of University of Michigan

Glendening was named the CCHA Best Defensive Forward during his senior season at Michigan.

30 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

Luke smiles at his recollection of the time, which he now calls one of the best memories in his life – a life that was about to change. “After the last game of my hockey season, my coach said, ‘You sure picked a good game to play well. A coach from Michigan was here and he seemed interested.’ I thought he was kidding.” Billy Powers, an assistant at Michigan, came away impressed enough that Michigan offered to make him a preferred walk-on, which is the equivalent of a one-year tryout. Luke still had to make a name for himself. (Berenson, in fact, called him Brandon on the first day of camp.) Asked if there is one word to describe his feelings about pulling on the block M for the first time, he says it would be “overwhelmed.” “I vividly remember calling my dad after the first day and telling him that I had so much new equipment on that I felt like the Tin Man. I was so excited and nervous that guys had to tell me to calm down.” It didn’t take Luke long to make an impression on the coaches at Michigan. “Right off the bat, you could see that this kid worked hard,” Berenson said. “I had not seen him play, so I wasn’t sure how much he would end up playing here, but the more we watched him in practice, the more we liked him. He was more than competitive and he picked up our team systems really well.

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! The 5/3 Bank Vault Restaurant and Bar is located next to the main entrance of the Van Andel Arena. Open during events and Griffins games, our bar offers a wide selection of local beers, Michigan wines and hand crafted cocktails. Come in and enjoy our house smoked meats and specialty sandwiches in the restaurant’s casual dining atmosphere. For reservations or inquiries call 616-742-6453 or email Ldoa@smggr.com

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“Once we got him into a couple of games, his him and go, ‘Wow, this guy is something special.’ That physicality and strength showed. Even though he was was the way he led. a freshman, he played strong and he played hard. He “Everyone who has ever had Luke has seen was a conscientious player without the puck, and we something special in him, and hopefully that will follow learned early to trust him defensively, and his game him at the next level.” grew from there.” Berenson won’t guarantee that Luke was a regular by his Luke will succeed at the NHL sophomore season, and as a junior he level, but he would be the last to was made a co-captain. bet against his former captain. “He’s a great leader and a good “You can never know. I didn’t two-way player,” Berenson said. “He know if he would even play here blocks shots and he’s a great penalty at Michigan, and look at what he killer. He’s just a great team player. did. There’s a big question mark He is very coachable and always has about the next level, but Luke is a great attitude. He’s one of those kids the kind of kid who will compete who does everything the right way and and do what it takes to find a role. does it all the way.” “He’s not going to start in the By his senior year, Luke showed NHL, but it wouldn’t surprise me that he deserved every accolade if he worked his way up. His first he would earn as the Wolverines’ challenge is to be able to play at captain. the American League level. It’s “He’s such a serious kid; his different than the college game, commitment was off-the-charts,” so he has to get that sorted out in Berenson said. “He was around other terms of the pace, skill level, and players who trained hard, too, but he so on. But he’ll find a way to make led our team in work ethic during his senior year. it work. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next year or “He was a leader by example – every practice, every two he gets called up for a game.” game, every shift. If we were doing 25-yard sprints or Of course, the Glendenings are thrilled by the a mile run off the ice, he was always at the front of the possibility of watching their son play in his hometown pack. He just pushed hard. Other players would look atS:4.875” as a Griffin.

“He was a leader by example – every practice, every game, every shift. If we were doing 25-yard sprints or a mile run off the ice, he was always at the front of the pack.”

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Watching their son play for the Griffins would be a dream-come-true for Tom and Leslie Glendening.

“It would be a dream-come-true,” said his mother. “I remember taking him to Jolly Roger and Belknap, and I would hold him up (on the edge of the dashers) and he’d stand there and just watch. I think one of his first words was ‘zamboni.’ He just loved hockey.” But Luke is doing his best to be honest about his chances. He knows that he could easily become the odd man out in Grand Rapids, especially with the NHL lockout pushing some players back into the AHL. “All I can do is put my best foot forward,” he said. “I’m excited to get out there and see where I stand. I’m excited for the opportunity and if it happens, that’s awesome.

“But I’m also trying to be realistic. I might have to swallow my pride and go to Toledo, and that’s okay. I’m still going to be playing hockey, and I’m going to work hard to show that I belong at the next level.” Stuursma, for one, likes his chances. “Luke has put himself in the position to have this opportunity, and he will do everything to take advantage of it,” Stuursma said. “When the odds are against him, you can be sure that he’s ready to go.”

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ONE DAY AT A TIME Story and photos by Mark Newman

Francis Pare wants to maintain a singular focus this season: helping the Griffins drive toward a playoff spot. When Francis Pare moved past Jamie Tardif last season to claim second place on the Griffins’ all-time goal-scoring list behind Michel Picard, it was an accomplishment the Quebec native never would have imagined four years earlier. Pare came to Grand Rapids in 2008 as an undrafted free agent, looking for an opportunity to make his mark in the pros after recording 54 goals during his final season of junior hockey with Chicoutimi of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. “If you told me that first year that I would become the second-leading scorer for the Griffins, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Pare said as he prepared for his fifth season with the team. In fact, Pare remembers doubting whether he would even get a chance to play in Grand Rapids. “I didn’t play my first couple of games, and I was mentally struggling a little bit,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘What’s going to happen to me? Maybe I’ll get sent down to the ECHL, and I won’t be able to show what I can do.’” Luck, however, was on his side. “When (former Griffins coach) Curt Fraser gave me a chance, I took it,” Pare said, detailing how he had a goal and an assist in his first game in a Griffins uniform, a 7-3 victory in Toronto on Oct. 19, 2008. “After that, it was just a matter of confidence.” Pare admits that he watched his rise in the Griffins’ 36 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

In 2009-10, Pare became the first player in franchise history to lead the Griffins in plus/minus in multiple seasons, let alone consecutive campaigns. record book with mixed feelings. “I’m so proud to wear the jersey every night... but I’ve been in Grand Rapids a long time.” He remembers sitting next to Tardif after the latter had passed Kip Miller and Derek King on the goals list. “He said, ‘This is no good. It means I’m still not playing in the NHL.’ I was kind of laughing about it, and now I’m in the same position.” Pare has no aspirations of ever catching Picard, who retired with nearly double the number of goals (158 to Pare’s 80). “I still want to be part of the Red Wings,” he stated matter-of-factly. He is in the last year of a two-year contract and knows that what happens this season will go a long way to determining his future in the Red Wings organization or elsewhere. Pare finished strong last season, registering 22 points in his last 18 games, but he has struggled with consistency. His goal totals are 24, 16, 24 and 16 the past seasons, but he has endured long stretches without putting the puck into the net. He hopes to take a different approach this season after running into Martin Russell, who was his coach in Midget AAA during the 2003-04 season, when he had 52 goals in 38 games. “I saw him while I was working out this summer, and he said I should stay focused on every single day,” Pare said. “That way you don’t worry about the past and you won’t look too far ahead.” Pare speculates that he has been putting too much pressure on himself, especially when the goals aren’t coming and the stress of a scoreless stretch starts to wear on his psyche. “I want to work on being more relaxed, just taking

one day at a time,” he said. “If you look at 76 games, the big picture is too much. I want to approach each day the same way, whether it’s a practice, a workout or a game. “I need to be ready to do the job every single day this year.” Having played 295 games in a Griffins jersey, Pare will be classified as a veteran for the 2012-13 campaign. “There are going to be new kids coming into camp, and it’s going to be pretty cool to be one of the older guys,” he said. “But it’s kind of weird. I’m still only 25 years old and I’m going to be seen as an old guy. I’m looking forward to the challenge.” In reality, he doesn’t expect that being in a position of leadership will make much of a difference in his personality. “I’m not going to change,” he said. “I’m going to go through the same old routines, be nice to everybody, play jokes on the guys. I’m not a big talker. I want to show it on the ice.” By taking one day at a time, Pare hopes to avoid the slow starts that have plagued him two of the last three seasons. Last season, he didn’t score a goal until the 13th game. Three seasons ago, his first goal of the year came in his 22nd game. “I can’t start with no goals in 10 or 20 games – that’s not good for me or my teammates – that’s terrible,” he said. “We need a good start and to get some points as a team early.” Frankly, Pare is tired of long summers, even though he enjoys spending time with family and friends and playing a lot of golf. Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 37

“It’s been a pain – the summers have been way too long,” he said. “It’s been three years now that we haven’t made the playoffs and that’s enough. It doesn’t make sense at all, especially with all of the good players we have. It’s crazy.” Pare genuinely feels that the Griffins should have been playoff-bound last season. “We came close but not close enough,” he said. “With all of the skill on our team, we should have found ourselves in the playoffs, not fighting for a spot in the playoffs. We just didn’t play well enough as a team.” Pare served as a “black ace” for the Red Wings during the Serving as a “black ace” with Detroit Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons. during the Stanley Cup Playoffs the last two years was gratifying for Pare, So he will continue to work on his defensive play but even though he was generally happy with his and being more patient with the puck, while focusing performance, it still left something to be desired. on those little things that can help the Griffins win “I think I played well, but not good enough to get a games this season. callup to the NHL, so it wasn’t good enough,” he said. “It’s kind of sad that “I’m not going to be satisfied with anything less.” (coach) Fraser left (to Pare realizes that he still has a lot of hard work become an assistant with ahead if ever wants to convince the Red Wings to give the Dallas Stars), but I’m him an opportunity to skate at Joe Louis Arena. ready to work for someone “I’m in the AHL for a reason,” he said. “Obviously, new,” Pare said. “I’m ready I’ve got some things to work on, things that I need to prove that I will give to improve if I want to put myself in a position to be everything I’ve got.” called up to the NHL.”

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2012-13

ROSTER

5

18 ADAM ALMQUIST

Defenseman 5-11, 173 lbs. Born: 2/27/91 Huskvarna, Sweden

15

JOAKIM ANDERSSON

Forward 6-2, 207 lbs. Born: 2/5/89 Munkedal, Sweden

8 MITCH CALLAHAN

20

Forward 5-10, 185 lbs. Born: 11/7/90 Johannesburg, South Africa

10

GLEASON FOURNIER Defenseman 6-0, 191 lbs. Born: 9/8/91 Rimouski, Que.

40 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

LOUIS-MARC AUBRY

29 BRENNAN EVANS

Forward 5-11, 200 lbs. Born: 4/28/89 Grand Rapids, Mich.

LANDON FERRARO

Defenseman 6-4, 230 lbs. Born: 1/6/82 North Battlefield, Sask.

23 LUKE GLENDENING

CHAD BILLINS

Defenseman 5-10, 182 lbs. Born: 5/26/89 Marysville, Mich.

Forward 6-4, 208 lbs. Born: 11/11/91 Arthabaska, Que.

44 WILLIE COETZEE

Forward 6-0, 200 lbs. Born: 8/17/91 Whittier, Calif.

14

22

Forward 6-0, 179 lbs. Born: 8/8/91 Trail, B.C.

28 TRISTON GRANT

Forward 6-1, 218 lbs. Born: 2/2/84 Neepawa, Man.

TOMAS JURCO

Forward 6-2, 195 lbs. Born: 12/28/92 Kosice, Slovakia

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Photo by Mark Newman

Photo by Mark Newman

XLIV Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

32

31 BRIAN LASHOFF Defenseman 6-3, 216 lbs. Born: 7/16/90 Albany, N.Y.

11

30 JOEY MacDONALD Goaltender 6-0, 198 lbs. Born: 2/7/80 Pictou, N.S.

17 ANDREJ NESTRASIL

Forward 6-2, 210 lbs. Born: 2/2/91 Prague, Czech Republic

9

13

Forward 6-2, 202 lbs. Born: 5/13/91 Fort Erie, Ont.

7 RILEY SHEAHAN

Forward 6-2, 212 lbs. Born: 12/7/91 St. Catharines, Ont.

Goaltender 6-1, 187 lbs. Born: 2/14/92 Ostrava, Czech Republic

4 NATHAN PAETSCH

Forward 5-11, 185 lbs. Born: 9/1/89 Halmstad, Sweden

Defenseman 6-0, 195 lbs. Born: 3/30/83 LeRoy, Sask.

12

1 TREVOR PARKES

Forward 5-10, 191 lbs. Born: 6/30/87 Lemoyne, Que.

PETR MRAZEK

GUSTAV NYQUIST

Defenseman 6-3, 225 lbs. Born: 3/2/90 Thousand Oaks, Calif.

21

19

Goaltender 6-2, 215 lbs. Born: 12/7/89 Sanborn, N.Y.

MAX NICASTRO

FRANCIS PARE

34 TOM McCOLLUM

JORDAN PEARCE

Goaltender 6-1, 195 lbs. Born: 10/10/86 Anchorage, Alaska

BRENT RAEDEKE Forward 6-0, 195 lbs. Born: 5/29/90 Regina, Sask.

27 BRENDAN SMITH Defenseman 6-2, 204 lbs. Born: 2/8/89 Mimico, Ont.

TOMAS TATAR

Forward 5-10, 186 lbs. Born: 12/1/90 Ilava, Slovakia Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 41

42 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

STUDENTS OF THE GAME The Griffins Youth Foundation is expanding educational opportunities within its hockey program to get more kids thinking about college. Kids who play hockey want to learn to improve, and the Griffins Youth Foundation wants to make certain that’s not all they learn. Established in 1995, the foundation strives to enhance the lives of area youth by providing opportunities to play hockey and ice-related sports, but the organization also seeks to promote academic excellence, community involvement and healthy lifestyles among the kids it serves. In recognition that academic success ultimately benefits a youngster more in the long run, the foundation is making education a greater priority, not only in its mission statement (where it is now listed first) but also in practice. “Our focus has always been hockey and it will continue to be the driving force behind the foundation, but we recognize that we need to emphasize academic excellence for the good of the kids,” said Bob Kaser, Griffins vice president of

community relations and broadcasting, who serves as the president of the Griffins Youth Foundation. “As much as we would love to see a couple of the kids in our program develop and earn hockey scholarships, we realize the chances of that happening are not very good. In the meantime, we want to do what we can to make sure we’re looking after the well-being of our kids by doing more educationally.” To help steer the organization in the right direction, the foundation sought an experienced educator who could provide guidance and advice as a member of its board of directors. “We’re very happy to welcome aboard Dr. Eric Nelson,” Kaser said. “We look forward to implementing many of his exciting ideas, which are based on his many years of experience, both as a teacher and administrator,” Kaser said. Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 43

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Griffins Youth Foundation families visit Ferris State University. Nelson is senior director of school quality for the Grand Rapids-based National Heritage Academies (NHA), one of the fastest growing public charter school management companies in the United States. NHA currently has 74 schools in nine states, including Colorado, Indiana, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin. Nelson oversees 24 schools for NHA, which partners with local school boards to build and manage no-cost public charter schools. Founded on the four pillars of academic excellence, moral focus, parental partnership and student responsibility, NHA schools are designed to eliminate the achievement gap among socialeconomic strata and provide public school choice to families so that their children are prepared for success in high school, college and beyond. “I’m super excited on both professional and personal levels for this opportunity,” Nelson said. “I’m thrilled that the Griffins Youth Foundation has

decided to highlight the educational component of their mission, an effort that mirrors our work at National Heritage Academies. “From a personal standpoint, I grew up in very poor circumstances and never had the opportunity to play hockey, so for me, it’s going to be a pleasure to work with the Griffins Youth Foundation in light of all that it does to give kids a chance to participate.” The foundation’s renewed emphasis on education began a couple of years ago when it began offering annual scholarships that award $5,000 to a pair of students to attend the college or university of their choice. In addition, the foundation has forged partnerships with area universities to allow kids to visit college campuses and get exposed to higher education. The past two years have seen kids make visits to Ferris State University and Davenport University.

“Our approach is the

‘whole child,’ which parallels the efforts of the Griffins,”

Nelson said. “Playing hockey

is fun, but we need to be realistic and encourage kids and their

families to think about college.”

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 45

Cornerstone University, meanwhile, has pledged financial support as well as the possibility of student interns to act as mentors or tutors. “Whether it’s a community college or a four-year university, we want to make sure that our kids know that the pursuit of an education beyond high school is a real possibility,” Kaser said. “We want to open doors for the kids who play in our program.” Getting kids to improve their reading is an essential step, according to Nelson. “There is a high correlation between reading level and a student’s ability to get into college and ultimately be successful,” Nelson said. “For younger kids, it’s critical to emphasize reading. For older kids, it’s important to prepare them to be college-ready.” Nelson said the foundation offers a great platform to encourage students to start thinking about college. “When you tell students that the difference in lifetime earnings between a high school dropout and a college graduate will be $1 million, it gets their attention,” Nelson said. To assist younger students in their efforts to improve their reading, the foundation is looking into expanding its library. Older students, meanwhile, will benefit from practice tests that will help them prepare for the ACT test. Nelson has seen what can happen when schools make a commitment to help students prepare for high school, college and beyond. In the last five

years, NHA schools ranked in the top 25 percent of U.S. schools for academic growth. “Our approach is the ‘whole child,’ which parallels the efforts of the Griffins,” Nelson said. “Playing hockey is fun, but we need to be realistic and encourage kids and their families to think about college.” To implement the new education initiatives, the foundation has enlisted the help of Wendy Foy as its new education coordinator. “We want to make sure the emphasis is still on fun,” Kaser said. “We don’t want their Saturdays to be an extension of school. We want to get kids excited about reading.” In addition to the emphasis on academic excellence, the foundation will also promote community involvement through participation in such projects as Adopt-A-Highway and the Grand River Cleanup. To encourage healthy lifestyles, the foundation is making available a pamphlet from the Center For Physical Rehabilitation. The pamphlet contains information regarding the treatment of basic sports injuries, concussion signs, and nutrition for young athletes. “We want the foundation to serve as a great resource for kids and their families,” Kaser said. “Hockey will always be our primary vehicle, but we want to reach out to help kids improve their educational experience and, ultimately, become active, healthy contributors to our community.”

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GRIFFINS KIDS CLUB!

Membership for kids 12 and under includes: • Official Kids Club t-shirt • Free ticket to a Griffins game • Members-only Kids Club parties • Monthly newsletters and contests • Only $15 to join • Free VIP wristband • And more! 46 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

For more information, visit the Griffins Kids Club Booth located at the top of the stairs near section 101, go to griffinshockey.com, email kidsclub@griffinshockey.com or call (616) 774-4585 ext. 3047.

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Mitch Callahan knows his role and feels lucky anytime he’s asked to play the enforcer.

48 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

“A good man always knows his limitations.” – spoken by Clint Eastwood in his role as “Dirty” Harry Callahan

When Mitch Callahan led the Los Angeles Junior Kings in scoring at age 16, he thought it might be the start of something good. It was only Midget AAA hockey, but it was a turning point for the Whittier-born boy who grew up enjoying skateboarding, surfing and the sand of sunny Southern California beaches. “That was the summer I really put my nose to the grindstone and thought I might be able to make a future out of hockey,” said Callahan, who subsequently earned an invitation to the training camp of the Kelowna Rockets in the Western Hockey League. Callahan eventually made the Rockets as a walkon and would become the team’s most improved Graffiti 2011-2012.pdf 1 9/16/2011 10:44:35 AM player.

Although he posted respectable point totals during his three years in junior hockey, it wasn’t Callahan’s goal-scoring abilities that impressed people. It was the things he did when he didn’t have the puck that made him special, according to his Kelowna coach. “We wanted him to be good at both ends of the ice, to work harder on his defensive game while maintaining the edge and toughness he plays with,” Ryan Huska told the Kelowna Capital News. Callahan’s gritty style caught the attention of the Detroit Red Wings, who decided to select the young forward with their sixth-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Although not the biggest prospect – at 6-foot, 200-pounds, Callahan can hardly be called imposing – he is a hard-nosed kid who is willing to stand up not only for himself but also for his teammates. Huska said Callahan learned his limitations and became a better player because of it. “The difference was, he began fighting on his own terms and when the team needed him to, not whenever anyone asked him to—which is what he did a lot as a rookie. “The Wings obviously like what Mitch is all about – an agitator with skill who everyone wants to have on their team, but nobody wants to play against,” said Huska.

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That’s the essence of Callahan, who was dubbed “Dirty Harry” long before he even knew who Clint Eastwood was. In the jargon of the cop film series, he was the “punk,” the kid who wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything. If Callahan has a chip on his shoulder, it was always there.“I’d like to think it started the day I was born,” he said. “It just comes out naturally.” He may be right. He was actually thrown out of daycare. “Some kid stole my ball, and I punched him and got kicked out,” Callahan said. Having a brother was always at the top of his Christmas wish list, but it never happened, so Callahan had to take out his aggressions elsewhere. “I remember the first year of playing ice hockey when I was eight and me and this kid got into it,” said Callahan, who started playing roller hockey at age six. Few dared call him out, but the reality was that most saw Callahan as the runt. “They always said I was too small or I wasn’t big enough,” he said. “My dad was my biggest fan. He told me not to give up, to keep working at it and everything would eventually pan out.” Mike Callahan was a plumber by trade and a Canadian by roots, so there was little question that his only son would play hockey, even after moving to California so that Mitch’s mom, Kelly, could be closer to her three sisters. “A lot of people in my high school didn’t even know what hockey was,” said Callahan, who

50 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

attended La Habra High School, just west of Whittier. “None of my friends really played, but over the years I played with the same group of guys, from age 6 to 16, so I think I probably developed better friendships with my teammates in hockey than my friends from school,” he said. Callahan is still friends with a lot of his former teammates, noting that his first real hockey fight was against Taylor Aronson, a Nashville Predators prospect currently playing for the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. They’re now good buddies. “We were both trying to make a Midget AAA team,” Callahan recalled. “It was a pretty terrible fight. I don’t think either one of us won.” Callahan earned a reputation for yappin’ and scrappin’ in the WHL, where he ranked near the top of the heap for most fighting majors his first two seasons. Coming into the AHL last season presented a new challenge, as he had to learn to fight men, not boys, including many who were bigger and stronger than he was. “When I was in juniors, I was one of the stronger guys, but at the next level, I was one of the weaker guys and had to work to get stronger so that I wouldn’t get pushed around or beat up.” He appeared in 48 games with the Griffins in 2011-12, tallying six goals and three assists with 103 penalty minutes.

“It was a good learning experience for me,” he said. “I didn’t play a whole lot, but as a 20-yearold playing my first year in the league, I had to pay my dues. You’ve got to earn your ice time.” Callahan knows it’s highly unlikely that he will ever lead his team in scoring again, so it’s important that he do the things that will earn the respect of his coaches and teammates. “It’s doing the little stuff, providing energy, making the big hit or blocking a big shot,” he said. “It’s all about showing the guys that I’m willing to do whatever it takes.” He would like to build a reputation as the type of player who would go through a wall for a teammate. If it means dropping the gloves and playing the role of enforcer, he’s more than happy to do it. “When you hear the fans all screaming for you, it makes you feel appreciated out there,” he said. Callahan worked out harder than ever this past summer, adding a little weight but not too much. “I didn’t want to lose any speed while I was trying to bulk up,” he said. He hopes to take a regular shift during his sophomore season with the Griffins, a year after sitting out more than his share of games, first as a healthy scratch early in the season and, later, due to a pair of injuries, including a concussion. “I don’t think anybody likes being a healthy

Callahan finished second among AHL rookies last season with 14 fighting majors.

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 51

Callahan won a bronze medal with Team USA at the World Junior Championship in 2011.

52 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

scratch,” he said. “But we had a lot of young guys, and [former Griffins coach Curt Fraser] wanted to make it fair and get everybody in the mix.” Dealing with the post-concussion symptoms was more frustrating, especially with the team failing to qualify for the playoffs. “It’s tough to watch your team play and not be in the lineup,” he said. Callahan comes into the 2012-13 season fully recovered and feeling like he and his teammates are in a position to make big strides with another year of experience under their belts. “If you compared us to other teams last year, we had one of the top teams on paper,” he said. “I think our season went pretty well, although we didn’t get the wins that we expected. Our work ethic was really good and we got along great. We just need to figure out how to win.” Callahan has set no goals, at least statistically speaking, for this season, but he is ready to do what he can to help the team make the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. “I would like to be more poised and patient with the puck,” he said. “I’d also like to stay healthy the whole season. I felt really good this summer, and I can’t wait to get started.”

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MAN OF MANY HATS

As the overseer of business operations for the Griffins, Tim Gortsema is one busy guy.

When Tim Gortsema interviewed with the to create an environment that was more conducive Grand Rapids Griffins in 1995 after a stint in the to hockey.” audit department at Deloitte & Touche, little did he On too many nights, the building seemed know that he would wind up counting buns instead almost church-like – critics had come to dub it of beans. Saint Van Andel – and the Griffins hoped the The one-time Certified Public Accountant (CPA) promotion would change the atmosphere. is now senior vice president of business operations “From the beginning we felt like it was a for the Griffins, which means that he gets to wear a success,” he said. “Not only did it help create new lot of different hats – not an uncommon situation life and excitement, it also introduced us to a new in the world of minor league sports. demographic of fans.” “Over the years, you do everything,” said The “beer crowd” was initially seen as being Gortsema, one of two employees who has worked largely college students, but Gortsema has seen the in the Griffins’ office since the franchise’s inception fan base grow to include more young professionals 17 years ago (Lisa Vedder, director of accounting – people that come for the Buds and stay to watch and tax, is the other). exciting hockey with their buds. “I’ve had the pleasure of passing out copies “It’s not a case of cheap beer and sayonara,” of Griffiti, selling merchandise in the stands and Gortsema said. “In short order, we’ve seen many of dropping coupons from the catwalk above the ice – things that all of us end up doing at some point,” he said. One of his more unique duties, he claims, is “hot dog consumption prognosticator,” a responsibility he assumed not long after the Griffins introduced their popular dollar beer and hot dog promotion in the middle of the 2007-08 season. Gortsema maintains a spreadsheet on his computer in order to take the guessing game out of the gastronomical. Determining the number of hot dogs that might be consumed on a given Friday is neither art nor science, but this Griffins office veteran is a pundit with purpose. Curiously, the dog-and-suds promotion started almost on a whim. “We wanted to inject some energy and life into the building,” Gortsema said, explaining the rationale behind Griffins Sr. VP Tim Gortsema (left) congratulated Russ the popular promotion. “We weren’t Campbell of Wyoming, Mich., as he entered the Van looking to attract a rowdy crowd that Andel Arena turnstiles on March 17, 2012 to become would create a ruckus, but we wanted the 5 millionth fan in franchise history. Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 57

them become fans. You see them on the concourse during the first period, but by the second period they’re flooding into the arena and they end up staying for the whole game. They’re standing on their feet during the shootout, yelling and cheering the team on to victory. It’s really a win-win for everyone.” The dollar promotion is just one element that has helped the Griffins secure attendance increases in five of the last six seasons. “I’m very proud of our staff because they have put in a lot of hard work to make that happen,” Gortsema said. “It’s particularly gratifying because it’s been accomplished in a rather challenging economic environment where people have fewer discretionary funds and are more discerning in terms of how they spend their hard-earned money.” Unlike most minor league organizations, the Griffins have enjoyed continuity among their staff with a number of long-tenured personnel who have stayed with the team for close to a decade or more. “Our continuity is extremely rare in the world of minor league sports,” he said. Gortsema points to owners Dan DeVos and David Van Andel as the prime movers who keep the behind-the-scenes team together. “When I first interviewed, I thought it was a great organization with great ownership, and that hasn’t changed – in fact, it’s something that has continued to validate itself over the years,” Gortsema said. To illustrate his point, Gortsema suggests that DeVos is not your typical sports owner who is forever meddling in the operations. “I believe he subscribes to the same mantra that I do: you hire the right people and you let them do their job,” Gortsema said. “I think it’s why we’ve been able to build a great staff and management team.” Working in the Griffins office is not a run-ofthe-mill operation. “We’re not selling widgets. We’re selling sports and entertainment. It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of hours – a lot of nights and weekends – but we’re selling fun. That’s one notion that we try to impress upon our staff every year, the fact that we work where people play.” Indeed, the organization is determined to sell a top-notch experience every time the Griffins take the ice. “People come to the arena to have a good time,” he said. “It may be one of 38 games for us, but it may be the only game a person will see this season. We want to do everything in our power to give them a positive experience, whether it’s a family outing, guys getting together with buddies or the ladies’ night out. “After 17 years and 16 seasons with the Griffins, I’ve had the pleasure to meet many great hockey fans and have seen several of our best supporters 58 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

literally grow up and now have kids of their own that also enjoy Griffins hockey,” he added. Every hockey game, Gortsema contends, is a chance to make an impression. “Everyone can harken back to one or two memories of attending sporting events over the years, where you remember the experience and how you felt. Those are things that are locked long-term into your memory, and we have that opportunity every night. We cannot control what happens on the ice – there’s a bad break, the goalie lets in a bad goal or the team clanks three shots off the crossbar – but we have the ability to influence the overall offthe-ice experience.” Many of the Griffins’ promotions have developed through trial and error. Over the years, the organization has successfully branded a number of nights on the schedule. Fridays, behind the strength of the dollar hot dogs and beers promotion, attract a younger crowd. Saturdays are popular with groups, thanks to giveaways, celebrity appearances and unique entertainment offerings. Sundays attract families, with Pepsi soft drinks for a dollar and, new this year, ice cream for a dollar. “With our four o’clock starts on Sundays, families can enjoy the game and still gets the kids home and to bed at a good time,” Gortsema said. Winning Wednesdays have proven to be a hit with the casual sports fan. When the Griffins win at home on Wednesday, each fan in attendance receives a free ticket to the next Wednesday game. “Our overall record hasn’t been the best the past couple of seasons, but we’ve been really good on Wednesdays,” Gortsema said. “We’ve had people come for one game and they end up seeing several games, and when that happens, you’ve potentially cultivated a new fan. They start to recognize the roster and gain a familiarity with the team just from coming every Wednesday.” On Wednesdays, fans become even more invested in the game. “When the score is 2-2 late in a game on a Wednesday, they’re really cheering for that goal,” Gortsema said. “A shootout is suddenly a lot more meaningful.” Not every promotion is a success. “We don’t do everything right – we make mistakes along the way, but that’s what is great about sports. You have a chance to start fresh every season, that opportunity to begin anew with the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. There’s a certain appeal to being able to start over each year.” For Gortsema, it’s a challenge that he relishes and a job like none other. “When I can look at a player’s jersey card and see my signature on the back as proof of authenticity, that’s pretty neat,” he said. “I get to work in a job that my kids think is cool, and that’s something you can’t put a price on.”

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C O M M U N I T Y

C R E A S E

WHAT WE DID DURING OUR SUMMER VACATION Although our players go back to their homes every summer, Griff and the front office staff remain in town and stay busy by sharing the joy of Griffins hockey with fans throughout West Michigan. 2012-13 GRIFFINS TEAM EVENTS

OCT. 15: 5th Annual Pups & Pucks Fall Walk-a-Thon at Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary OCT. 23: Griffins Booster Club Meet the Team Banquet NOV. 13: Tip-A-Griffin at Uccello’s Restaurants JAN. 12-13: 11th Annual Great Skate Winterfest at Rosa Parks Circle FEB. 4: Griffins Booster Club Silent Auction FEB. 12: 8th Annual Griffins/Sled Wings Sled Hockey Game at Griff’s IceHouse FEB. 19: 2nd Annual Reds, Whites & Brews at the Goei Center APRIL 15: Griffins Booster Club Awards Banquet For information on these and many other community events, please visit griffinshockey.com.

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 61

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 63

64 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

GRIFFINS RECORDS (Through 2011-12)

GRIFFINS ALL-TIME LEADERS

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

GAMES PLAYED Travis Richards.............. 655 Michel Picard................. 364 Jamie Tardif.................... 316 Derek Meech.................. 304 Ryan Oulahen................. 302 Francis Pare.................... 295 Darryl Bootland............. 293 Logan Pyett..................... 288 Matt Ellis......................... 282 Dave Van Drunen.......... 280

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

GOALS Michel Picard................. 158 Francis Pare.......................80 Jamie Tardif.......................78 Kip Miller...........................75 Derek King.........................73 Darryl Bootland................72 Matt Ellis............................69 Jiri Hudler..........................65 Tomas Tatar......................64 Tomas Kopecky.................63

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9 10.

ASSISTS Michel Picard................. 222 Travis Richards.............. 182 Kip Miller........................ 133 Derek King...................... 130 Jiri Hudler....................... 114 Francis Pare.................... 113 Glen Metropolit................88 Jeff Nelson..........................87 Matt Ellis............................84 Tomas Tatar......................83

SINGLE SEASON TOP TEN POINTS 1. Michel Picard................101......................1996-97 2. Jiri Hudler........................96......................2005-06 3. Jeff Nelson........................89......................1996-97 4. Donald MacLean.............88......................2005-06 5. Michel Picard..................84......................2002-03 6. Derek King.....................*83......................2000-01 7. Mark Mowers..................81......................2002-03 Glen Metropolit..............81......................1998-99 9. Darren Haydar................80......................2008-09 10. Eric Manlow....................73......................2005-06

ASSISTS 1. Jiri Hudler........................60......................2005-06 2. Jeff Nelson........................55......................1996-97 Michel Picard..................55......................1996-97 4. Glen Metropolit..............53......................1998-99 5. Michel Picard..................52......................2002-03 6. Derek King.......................51......................2000-01 7. Valtteri Filppula..............50......................2005-06 8. Darren Haydar................49......................2008-09 9. Eric Manlow....................48......................2005-06 Stacy Roest.......................48......................2002-03

GOALS 1. Donald MacLean...........*56......................2005-06 2. Michel Picard..................46......................1996-97 3. Jiri Hudler........................36......................2005-06 4. Mark Mowers..................34......................2002-03 Jeff Nelson........................34......................1996-97 6. Slava Butsayev.................33......................2000-01 Michel Picard..................33......................1999-00 8. Jeremy Williams..............32......................2009-10 Tomas Kopecky...............32......................2005-06 Michel Picard..................32......................2002-03 Derek King.......................32......................2000-01 *Led League

PENALTY MINUTES 1. Darryl Bootland............390......................2005-06 2. Matt Ruchty...................364......................1996-97 3. Chris Neil.......................354......................2000-01 4. Wade Brookbank..........337......................2001-02 5. Darryl Bootland............336......................2004-05 6. Darcy Simon..................327......................1996-97 7. Peter Vandermeer.........310......................2004-05 Bruce Ramsay................310......................1997-98 9. Bruce Ramsay................306......................1996-97 10. Chris Neil.......................301......................1999-00

GRIFFINS’ ALL-TIME LEADERS IN GOALTENDING WINS

JOEY MacDONALD JIMMY HOWARD (109) (90)

MIKE FOUNTAIN (55)

MARC LAMOTHE DANIEL LARSSON (54) (45) Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 65

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NHL AFFILIATIONS

Ottawa Senators 1999-2002, Detroit Red Wings 2002-Present

SEASON RECORDS (IHL 1996-2001, AHL 2001- Present) YEAR 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

GP 82 82 82 82 82 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 76

W 40 38 34 51 53 42 48 44 41 55 37 31 43 34 36 33

L 30 31 40 22 22 27 22 28 35 20 32 41 25 39 34 32

T OTL SOL PTS GF - - 12 92 244 - - 13 89 225 - - 8 76 256 - - 9 111 254 - 4 3 113 279 11 0 - 95 217 8 2 - 106 240 8 0 - 96 195 - 2 2 86 200 - 1 4 115 323 - 6 5 85 226 - 2 6 70 210 - 6 6 98 255 - 3 4 75 244 - 2 8 82 227 - 7 4 77 245

GA 246 242 281 200 196 178 177 166 200 247 244 245 226 265 254 249

FINISH 10 of 19 11 of 18 15 of 16 2 of 13 1 of 11 4 of 27 2 of 27 5 of 28 17 of 28 1 of 27 17 of 27 25 of 29 8 of 29 26 of 29 23 of 30 24 of 30

GRIFFINS ALL-STARS 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

Jeff Nelson, Michel Picard, Pokey Reddick Ian Gordon, Kerry Huffman, Michel Picard Robert Petrovicky, Maxim Spiridonov John Gruden, Jani Hurme, Kevin Miller, Petr Schastlivy Mike Fountain, Joel Kwiatkowski, Travis Richards, Todd White Chris Bala, John Gruden, Kip Miller, Martin Prusek, Petr Schastlivy Mark Mowers, Marc Lamothe Jiri Hudler, Niklas Kronwall, Travis Richards, Nathan Robinson Niklas Kronwall, Joey MacDonald Valtteri Filppula, Jiri Hudler, Donald MacLean Kip Miller, Derek Meech Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard Jakub Kindl, Daniel Larsson Patrick Rissmiller Ilari Filppula, Brendan Smith Gustav Nyquist

70 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

2012 AHL All-Star Gustav Nyquist

y/AHL

Photo by PhotoGraphics Photograph

2011 AHL All-Star Ilari Filppula

Photo by JustSports Photograph

y/AHL

SEASON LEADERS SCORING

(* = Led League)

1996-97 . . . Michel Picard.......................................... 101 points 1997-98 . . . Michel Picard............................................ 69 points 1998-99 . . . Glen Metropolit........................................ 81 points 1999-00 . . . Michel Picard............................................ 68 points 2000-01 . . . Derek King..............................................83 points* 2001-02 . . . Kip Miller................................................. 56 points 2002-03 . . . Michel Picard............................................ 84 points 2003-04 . . . Michel Picard............................................ 54 points 2004-05 . . . Niklas Kronwall........................................ 53 points 2005-06 . . . Jiri Hudler................................................ 96 points 2006-07 . . . Kip Miller................................................. 72 points 2007-08 . . . Carl Corazzini............................................ 60 points 2008-09 . . . Darren Haydar.......................................... 80 points 2009-10 . . . Jeremy Williams........................................ 63 points 2010-11 . . . Ilari Filppula ............................................ 64 points 2011-12 . . . . . Jamie Johnson /Gustav Nyquist/Tomas Tatar....58 points GOALS 1996-97 . . . . Michel Picard..................................................... 46 1997-98 . . . . Michel Picard..................................................... 28 1998-99 . . . . Glen Metropolit.................................................. 28 1999-00 . . . . Michel Picard..................................................... 33 2000-01 . . . . Slava Butsayev................................................... 33 2001-02 . . . . Petr Schastlivy................................................... 22 2002-03 . . . . Mark Mowers..................................................... 34 2003-04 . . . . Kevin Miller....................................................... 27 2004-05 . . . . Eric Manlow....................................................... 21 2005-06 . . . . Donald MacLean................................................56* 2006-07 . . . . Matt Ellis........................................................... 26 2007-08 . . . . Carl Corazzini..................................................... 24 2008-09 . . . . Darren Haydar................................................... 31 2009-10 . . . . Jeremy Williams................................................. 32 2010-11 . . . . Jamie Tardif....................................................... 27 2011-12 . . . . Tomas Tatar....................................................... 24 PENALTY MINUTES 1996-97 . . . . Matt Ruchty..................................................... 364 1997-98 . . . . Bruce Ramsay.................................................. 310 1998-99 . . . . Jared Bednar................................................... 220 1999-00 . . . . Chris Neil......................................................... 301 2000-01 . . . . Chris Neil......................................................... 354 2001-02 . . . . Wade Brookbank.............................................. 337 2002-03 . . . . Ryan Barnes..................................................... 151 2003-04 . . . . Ryan Barnes, Darryl Bootland............................ 175 2004-05 . . . . Darryl Bootland................................................ 336 2005-06 . . . . Darryl Bootland................................................ 390 2006-07 . . . . Darryl Bootland................................................ 222 2007-08 . . . . Kyle Quincey.................................................... 149 2008-09 . . . . Aaron Downey.................................................. 126 2009-10 . . . . Paul Crosty...................................................... 170 2010-11 . . . . Greg Amadio.................................................... 230 2011-12 . . . . Garnet Exelby.................................................. 177 GOALTENDING WINS 1996-97 . . . . Pokey Reddick........................................ (30-14-10) 1997-98 . . . . Ian Gordon...............................................(23-16-4) 1998-99 . . . . Neil Little.................................................(18-21-5) 1999-00 . . . . Jani Hurme...............................................(29-15-4) 2000-01 . . . . Mike Fountain........................................ (34-10-6)* 2001-02 . . . . Martin Prusek.............................................(18-8-5) 2002-03 . . . . Marc Lamothe........................................ (33-18-8)* 2003-04 . . . . Joey MacDonald........................................(22-12-3) 2004-05 . . . . Joey MacDonald........................................(34-29-2) 2005-06 . . . . Jimmy Howard............................................(27-6-2) 2006-07 . . . . Jimmy Howard..........................................(21-21-3) 2007-08 . . . . Jimmy Howard..........................................(21-28-2) 2008-09 . . . . Daniel Larsson..........................................(22-12-2) 2009-10 . . . . Daniel Larsson .........................................(23-24-2) 2010-11 . . . . Jordan Pearce...........................................(20-15-5) 2011-12 . . . . Joey MacDonald........................................(11-11-3) Tom McCollum..........................................(11-16-0)

2010 AHL All-Star Patrick Rissmiller

Photo by Sports Action Photograph

y/AHL

2009 AHL All-Star Jakub Kindl

y/AHL

Photo by JustSports Photograph

2009 AHL All-Star Daniel Larsson

Photo by JustSports Photograph

y/AHL

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 71

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72 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

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Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 73

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74 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

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IT ALL STAR

GRIFFINS IN THE NHL

SINCE THEIR INCEPTION IN 1996, THE GRIFFINS HAVE SENT 125 PLAYERS TO THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE, 14 OF WHOM HAVE GONE ON TO WIN THE STANLEY CUP. IN FACT, A GRIFFINS ALUMNUS HAS HAD HIS NAME ENGRAVED ON LORD STANLEY’S CHALICE IN FOUR OF THE LAST FIVE YEARS AND IN SIX OF THE LAST EIGHT SEASONS. IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, HERE ARE THE 18 GOALIES AND 107 SKATERS WHO HAVE WORN AN NHL SWEATER AFTER PLAYING FOR GRAND RAPIDS, ALONG WITH THE DATES OF THEIR NHL DEBUTS/RETURNS.

76 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Pavol Demitra 3/17/97 STL at PHX Kevyn Adams 10/1/97 TOR vs. WSH Tyler Moss 10/28/97 CGY vs. PIT Michel Picard 1/6/98 STL at SJ Jeff Nelson 10/10/98 NSH vs. FLA Patrick Traverse 10/10/98 OTT at COL Mark Greig 1/7/99 PHI vs. NYI Radim Bicanek 2/1/99 OTT at VAN Robert Petrovicky 2/15/99 TB at NYI Andrei Vasilyev 3/5/99 PHX vs. DET Todd Hlushko 4/25/99 PIT vs. NJ Patrick Lalime 10/2/99 OTT at PHI Glen Metropolit 10/2/99 WSH at FLA Kevin Miller 10/31/99 OTT at ATL Karel Rachunek 10/31/99 OTT at ATL Erich Goldmann 11/11/99 OTT vs. NSH Yves Sarault 11/20/99 OTT at NJ John Gruden 11/30/99 OTT vs. CHI Mike Fountain 12/3/99 OTT at NJ Dave Van Drunen 12/13/99 OTT at TOR Petr Schastlivy 1/3/00 OTT vs. NJ John Emmons 1/6/00 OTT vs. PHX Slava Butsayev 1/28/00 OTT at BUF Aris Brimanis 2/13/00 NYI at NYR

25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

Dieter Kochan 3/28/00 TB vs. DAL Jani Hurme 4/9/00 OTT vs. TB Shane Hnidy 10/5/00 OTT at BOS Donald MacLean 10/14/00 TOR vs. OTT David Oliver 11/4/00 OTT vs. CBJ Jamie Rivers 11/12/00 OTT at CAR Sean Gagnon 11/26/00 OTT at NYR Joel Bouchard 11/29/00 PHX at COL Mike Crowley 12/8/00 ANA at MIN Ivan Ciernik 1/23/01 OTT at NYI Darren Rumble 2/6/01 STL at COL Joel Kwiatkowski 2/19/01 OTT at BUF Todd White 2/19/01 OTT at BUF Chris Neil 10/3/01 OTT at TOR Toni Dahlman 1/3/02 OTT vs. WSH Steve Martins 1/11/02 OTT at FLA Kip Miller 1/17/02 NYI at SJ Jody Hull 2/4/02 OTT at TB Dmitry Afanasenkov 2/6/02 TB at FLA Simon Lajeunesse 3/7/02 OTT at SJ Martin Prusek 3/23/02 OTT vs. ATL Chris Bala 3/27/02 OTT at NYI Neil Little 3/28/02 PHI at CAR Josh Langfeld 3/30/02 OTT vs. TB

49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69

Gaetan Royer 4/1/02 TB vs. NYR Jason Spezza 10/24/02 OTT at BOS Sean Avery 10/29/02 DET vs. SJ Jason Doig 12/3/02 WSH at PIT Jason Williams 12/5/02 DET at PHX Patrick Boileau 12/19/02 DET vs. DAL Stacy Roest 2/20/03 DET vs. EDM Wade Brookbank 10/9/03 NSH vs. ANA Julien Vauclair 10/25/03 OTT at MTL Jiri Hudler 10/29/03 DET vs. STL Curtis Joseph 10/30/03 DET at NSH Darryl Bootland 11/8/03 DET vs. NSH Mark Mowers 11/19/03 DET vs. CBJ Nathan Robinson 11/28/03 DET vs. NYI Blake Sloan 12/4/03 DAL at LA Niklas Kronwall 12/10/03 DET at BUF Ryan Barnes 12/15/03 DET vs. FLA Chris Kelly 2/5/04 OTT vs. TOR Marc Lamothe 2/23/04 DET at EDM Anders Myrvold 2/26/04 DET at CGY Mathieu Chouinard 2/29/04 LA at ANA

Tomas Kopecky, 2010 Chicago

TS HERE 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90

Brett Lebda 10/5/05 DET vs. STL Mark Eaton 10/5/05 NSH vs. SJ Chris Osgood 10/29/05 DET at CHI Kyle Quincey 11/25/05 DET at ANA Jimmy Howard 11/28/05 DET at LA Valtteri Filppula 12/15/05 DET at FLA Rob Collins 12/17/05 NYI vs. COL Manny Legace 1/5/06 DET vs. STL David Gove 1/31/06 CAR at MTL Tomas Kopecky 2/28/06 DET at SJ Alexandre Giroux 3/25/06 NYR at TB Joey MacDonald 10/19/06 DET at SJ Derek Meech 12/7/06 DET vs. STL Matt Ellis 12/18/06 DET at CBJ Matt Hussey 1/26/07 DET at STL Sheldon Brookbank 2/6/07 NSH at PIT Danny Syvret 2/27/07 EDM vs. PHX Mark Hartigan 11/29/07 DET vs. TB Drew MacIntyre 12/13/07 VAN at SJ Peter Vandermeer 2/10/08 PHX vs. NSH Jonathan Ericsson 2/22/08 DET at CGY

91 Garrett Stafford 2/23/08 DET at VAN 92 Darren Helm 3/13/08 DET vs. DAL 93 Mattias Ritola 3/15/08 DET vs. NSH 94 Clay Wilson 3/25/08 CBJ at NSH 95 Darren McCarty 3/28/08 DET vs. STL 96 Krys Kolanos 11/4/08 MIN at SJ 97 Landon Wilson 11/22/08 DAL vs. ANA 98 Bryan Helmer 11/28/08 WSH vs. MTL 99 Chris Chelios 12/13/08 DET at PHX 100 Aaron Downey 1/29/09 DET vs. DAL 101 Justin Abdelkader 1/31/09 DET at WSH 102 Ville Leino 1/31/09 DET at WSH 103 Aaron Gagnon 10/16/09 DAL vs. BOS 104 Scott Parse 10/24/09 LA at PHX 105 Doug Janik 11/3/09 DET vs. BOS 106 Ryan Keller 11/25/09 OTT at NJ 107 Jakub Kindl 12/3/09 DET vs. EDM 108 Kris Newbury 12/14/09 DET vs. PHX 109 Darren Haydar 2/10/10 COL vs. ATL 110 Andreas Lilja 3/1/10 DET at COL 111 Jeremy Williams 10/24/10 NYR vs. NJ

Mark Eaton, 2009 Pittsburgh

112 Jan Mursak 12/27/10 DET at COL 113 Chris Mueller 12/28/10 NSH vs. DAL 114 Tomas Tatar 12/31/10 DET vs. NYI 115 Cory Emmerton 1/22/11 DET vs. CHI 116 Patrick Rissmiller 2/23/11 ATL at BUF 117 Tom McCollum 3/30/11 DET vs. STL 118 Gustav Nyquist 11/1/11 DET vs. MIN 119 Fabian Brunnstrom 11/5/11 DET vs. ANA 120 Brendan Smith 11/17/11 DET at SJ 121 Mark Cullen 11/29/11 FLA at CAR 122 Chris Conner 12/2/11 DET at BUF 123 Joakim Andersson 12/27/11 DET vs. STL 124 Ty Conklin 3/21/12 DET at NYR 125 Riley Sheahan 4/7/12 DET vs. CHI

Niklas Kronwall, 2008 Detroit

Bold = Played in the NHL during the 2011-12 season Italics = Had name engraved on the Stanley Cup after playing for Grand Rapids

Chris Kelly, 2011 Boston

All photos by Getty Images except Niklas Kronwall (Dave Reginek).

Kevyn Adams, 2006 Carolina

78 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

KIDS

PAGE

PRESENTING YOUR GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS!

The Griffins have dropped the puck on the 2012-13 AHL campaign, and it’s time to meet all the players and coaches you’ll cheer for this season. First, find the last name of each Griffins player and coach by searching horizontally, vertically and diagonally, both forward and backward. Then check out the photos and biographical information on pages 40-41 and learn all about the team by reading Griffiti cover to cover. Have fun!

L P A E K E S L G J U R C O T T I F H C H L Y L H T I M S S Z Y S R E I V S E J Y N C A I

U R A A H D L A N O D C A M U U E H S R R W M D I R G D F Q

P A A A W T C M E E L B P A M N L T O K C S O N F C L N H L

B A D S O K R E I O E D I A A T C A L L A H A N U E N R B S

I O L B R W P S G R Z Y A E E

A U B R Y W T A S N T Q E V K M K E Z A R M S R I E U D A R

A F L A S H O F F E O I E N A T N A R G N U D U R C S K S P O R T S A C I N H C S T E A P Adam ALMQUIST Joakim ANDERSSON Louis-Marc AUBRY Chad BILLINS Head Coach Jeff BLASHILL Mitch CALLAHAN Willie COETZEE

Brennan EVANS Landon FERRARO Gleason FOURNIER Luke GLENDENING Triston GRANT Tomas JURCO Brian LASHOFF

Joey MACDONALD Tom MCCOLLUM Petr MRAZEK Andrej NESTRASIL Max NICASTRO Gustav NYQUIST Assistant Coach Jim PAEK

Nathan PAETSCH Francis PARE Trevor PARKES Jordan PEARCE Brent RAEDEKE Riley SHEAHAN Brendan SMITH Tomas TATAR Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 79

Goaltender Petr Mrazek, a rookie out of Ostrava, Czech Republic, shares a laugh with fellow countryman Jiri Fischer, Red Wings director of player development, during Griffins training camp. 80 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

Photo by Mark Newman

PARTING SHOT

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2012-13 Griffiti - Issue #1