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2011-12 SEASON ISSUE NO. 3

Edition Limited stien of Seba Posters d Mitch Piche an n Callaha Inside!

official magazine of the grand rapids griffins


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B Grand Rapids Griffins


Vol. 16, No. 3

T able o f C O N T E N T S STARTING LINEUP 22 GEM OF A DEFENSEMAN Veteran Garnet Exelby has polished his play over the years to become a dependable defenseman coveted by coaches.

22

30 A MATTER OF TIME The more minutes under his belt, the more likely that center Joakim Andersson will earn a job in Detroit. 40 OPPORTUNITY ROCKS! The Griffins Youth Foundation gives kids of all types a chance to play hockey. 44 AMPLIFYING TALENTS Defenseman Brian Lashoff is making noise this season by playing to his strengths. 50 OVERSEAS SUCCESS A number of former Griffins have enjoyed success over the years playing in Europe’s top hockey leagues.

30

On the Bench

2.............. Next Opponents 5.............. Chalk Talk 6.............. Coming Attractions 9.............. Griffins Schedule 12........... AHL Team Directory 18........... AHL Tradition 20........... It Feels Good To Connect 21........... Detroit Red Wings 28........... Promotional Calendar

36........... Meet the Griffins 48........... Griffins Records 54........... Community Crease 57........... Penalty Calls 58........... Griffins History 64........... Arena Map/Ticket Info 68........... It All Starts Here 71........... Kids Page 72........... Parting Shot

44

COVER:

Veteran Garnet Exelby has earned a reputation as a hard-hitting, dependable defender. 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 Š2012 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.

50

Grand Rapids Griffins 1


upcoming home opponents &

Players to watch

HAMILTON (Feb. 3, Feb. 4, Feb. 22) The Bulldogs are seeing steady improvement by Swedish import Andreas Engqvist (#22), an undrafted prospect who is known for his strong two-way play. The 24-year-old center has been scoring at a point-per-game pace after tallying only 25 points in 71 games during his first season in North America a year ago. He made his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens in January 2011.

HOUSTON (Feb. 10, Feb. 11) The Aeros have been encouraged by the steady work of Colorado College product Kris Fredheim (#7), a 24-yearold defenseman who is responsible in his zone and rarely caught out of position. A sixth-round pick (185th overall) by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Fredheim isn’t afraid to use his lanky 6-foot-2, 192-pound frame to his advantage. The British Columbia native made his NHL debut with the Minnesota Wild this past November.

SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 12) The Rampage are excited to have Steve Sullivan (#37) back in the fold after their NHL affiliate Florida Panthers reacquired the 27-year-old defenseman in a Jan. 26 trade that shipped Tim Kennedy to the San Jose Sharks. A former team captain for Boston University, Sullivan is in his fifth professional season, his first three coming in San Antonio. In 2009-10, he led all Rampage defensemen with a career-high 49 points, eighth best among AHL blueliners. 2 Grand Rapids Griffins


PEORIA (Feb. 18) The Rivermen continue to see good things from St. Louis Blues prospect Tyler Shattock (#26), who was a fourth-round pick (#108 overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The 21-year-old forward has good size (6foot-3, 200-pounds) and a heavy shot that produced a 30-goal season at the junior level. A native of Vernon, British Columbia, Shattock can play all three forward positions and has started to show that he can find the back of the net in the pros.

LAKE ERIE (Feb. 24) The Monsters are sharpening the tools of 21-year-old defenseman Cameron Gaunce (#24), a gritty, physical player who appeared in 11 NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche last season. A second-round pick (50th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the 6-foot-1, 203pound Gaunce brings a strong competitive streak and solid work ethic to the rink. He recorded his first NHL goal against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in February 2011.

ROCHESTER (March 2) The Americans have been pleasantly surprised by the play of right winger Evan Rankin (#15), who tallied seven goals and five assists in 13 games before being injured on Dec. 27. Rankin had 10 goals in 15 contests with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye earlier this season when Rochester signed the Portage native and former Griffin to a tryout contract. Rankin, 25, who played his college hockey at the University of Notre Dame, appeared in 10 games with Grand Rapids last season, registering a goal and an assist.

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 3) The Barons feel they have a future star in 21-year-old left winger Teemu Hartikainen (#10), a native of Kuopio, Finland, who represented his country in the 2009 and 2010 World Junior Championships. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound prospect recorded eight goals and seven assists in his first 24 games this season after appearing in 12 NHL games (three goals, two assists) with the Edmonton Oilers a year ago. Hartikainen was the AHL’s rookie of the month in January 2011. Grand Rapids Griffins 3


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CHALK TALK w i t h G r i f f ins h ea d c oa c h Cu r t F r ase r A day in the life of a professional hockey player starts long before the puck is dropped to begin a game. The runup to the game starts much earlier in the day when players come to the rink for the morning skate, a brief (usually less than an hour) but spirited session to get them going. “Coaches look at morning skates differently,” said Griffins head coach Curt Fraser. “Are they important? I think so. It’s all about starting your preparation early in the day to get yourself ready for the challenges that lie ahead in the game that night.” Some coaches look at morning skates as almost superfluous, a tedious going-through-the-motions activity that they could easily do without, but Fraser and assistant coach Jim Paek see it as an opportunity to get their team going in the right direction. “We’ll work on three or four things to get us prepared for that evening,” Fraser said. “Sometimes they might be drills to sharpen their skills, other times we introduce things that are specific to the opponent for the night.” While the players leave the rink to go home to get a good meal and a good rest before the game, the Griffins’ coaches will watch the other team’s morning skate. “We’re looking at their lineup, watching their line combinations, anything that will help us,” Fraser said. “Sometimes the things you see in the morning can help you at night.” Players usually start arriving back at the rink late in the afternoon and are prepared to meet about an hour before the game in the Griffins’ dressing room. “We’ll go over the other team’s tendencies on the power play, penalty kill and faceoffs,” Fraser said. “We’ll look at video to review some of the things that the guys might see from the opponent that night.” Various video clips are assembled from recent games to demonstrate the coaches’ message, which usually runs five to seven minutes. “We’ll quickly go over three or four points that we feel we need to stress for ourselves to be successful against the team that we’re facing,” Fraser said. “Then it’s up to the guys to get ready to prepare themselves during the warmup before the game.” Although Fraser and Paek stand behind the bench during the pregame warmup, the time is mainly for players to get themselves loose and ready for a quick start.

Once the game gets underway, the pace of the contest means there is little time for coaching, other than a few words of instruction here and there. Between periods, the coaches will sometimes offer words of advice, but not always. “When you have a lot of young players, you have to reinforce what you’re trying to do on the ice, at least structurally,” Fraser said. “Early in the year, you have to remind them about things that you’re trying to put into place from a systems standpoint.” As the season progresses, intermissions are usually reserved for adjustments. “We might have to tweak something, whether it means adding an element or taking something away from our approach,” Fraser said. “As we get deeper into the season, our players get better at being able to change. The more you preach something, the more easily it is grasped by the players. We can change from one period to the next, and that’s huge when you get to the playoffs.” There is not a lot of yelling and screaming, although the tone is usually serious. “We try to take some positives from their play on the ice and mix in some things that we need to do better,” he said. A game is an exercise in preparation. “By the time they hit the ice, players should know what they have to do,” Fraser said. “As the play progresses, you look for things that you need to adjust. You make adjustments after the first period and again after the second, depending on whether you are up or down a goal. It’s little things, like protecting the puck when you’re ahead or taking smart chances if you’re behind.” Following the game, the players will cool down, sometimes with a workout if they have the next day off, or with a meal in the dressing room if they have to catch a bus or flight for a game the next night. “It’s not an easy schedule, and with all the travel it’s a challenge for the younger guys who are not accustomed to playing so many games,” Fraser said. “The schedule is very demanding, but players quickly learn the things they need to do, not only to succeed in the games but to maintain their fitness level from day to day to keep themselves sharp. It’s all a process. You have to find a way.”

Grand Rapids Griffins 5


Coming Attractions PURPLE PASSION In the pantheon of potent pigments, purple has prevailed as a hue in a princely position. Purple, of course, has been the favored color of royalty for hundreds of years. In 1955, it was the subject of Crockett Johnson’s children book “Harold And The Purple Crayon.” It also inspired Sheb Wooley’s No. 1 smash, “Purple People Eater,” which Minnesota Vikings fans later equated with the formidable foursome of Jim Marshall, Carl Eller, Alan Page and Gary Larsen. There’s the U.S. military’s Purple Heart, Alice Walker’s novel “The Color Purple,” and music’s “Purple Haze,” “Purple Rain” and Deep Purple. It’s enough to give people a case of porphyrophobia (the fear of the color purple). Locally, purple has been the adopted color at sporting events promoting the fight against cancer since 2009, when the Van Andel Institute first benefitted from a fundraiser organized by Grandville High School’s women soccer team. More and more teams have rallied around the idea of wearing purple jerseys to call attention to the worthy cause, and the Griffins join the effort on Saturday, Feb. 18 with their own Community for a Cure Purple Game. The Griffins will wear special purple jerseys that will be signed by the players and auctioned off from the Fifth Third Vault following the game to benefit the Van Andel Institute. Ten thousand purple t-shirts will be distributed, and the first 2,500 fans will also receive a Van Andel Institute-themed rally towel. Purple is likely to be a color in the palette of performance painter extraordinaire Dan Dunn, who will entertain fans during the second intermission with his impressive Paintjam act. The one-of-a-kind speed painter wows audience with his high-energy, improvisational style that has been featured on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. His repertoire includes his artistic impressions of an array of icons, including Elvis, Marilyn Monroe,

Wednesday is Hockey Night!

Before and after every Wednesday home game from December through February, show your ticket to that night’s game to receive great food and drink specials at participating Arena District restaurants and bars, including Peppino’s Sports Lounge, home of the Griffins’ Wednesday post-game parties. Visit griffinshockey.com/hockeynight for a list of participating restaurants (subject to change). 6 Grand Rapids Griffins

Ray Charles, Albert Einstein and Willie Nelson. Inspired by speed painter Denny Dent, who died in 2004 at the age of 55 in the prime of his career, Dunn saw his popularity skyrocket when his daughter posted a YouTube video that has received 13.4 million views. Today, Dunn paints at more than 200 events per year all over the world.

BOBBLEHEAD GIVEAWAYS Griffins fans can take advantage of a pair of bobblehead giveaway nights when the organization immortalizes former Griffins defenseman Niklas Kronwall on Hockey Day in West Michigan (presented by Lake Michigan Credit Union) on Saturday, Feb. 4, and current Griffins blueliner Brendan Smith on Sunday, Feb. 12 (presented by Michigan Office Solutions). ANNUAL GRIFFINS VS. SLED WINGS GAME Griffins players will shed their skates in favor of sleds for their seventh annual sled hockey game on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at Griff’s IceHouse in Grand Rapids. The friendly but spirited competition will pit the entire Griffins roster against the Sled Wings, a team of physically challenged teenagers sponsored by the Griffins Youth Foundation in partnership with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., with the contest scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. STAR WARS NIGHT The 501st Legion returns for another Star Wars Night presented by Consumers Energy, with proceeds benefiting the Griffins Youth Foundation. Over 50 costumed characters will be roaming the arena and interacting with fans. In addition to light sabers and Griffins Star Wars-themed pucks and t-shirts being sold on the concourse, photo areas will be set up for fans to get their picture taken with their favorite characters for a small donation.


“Free Ride Friday� with Griffins ticket before or after any Griffins Home Game. For more information visit griffinshockey.com/rapid

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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8 Grand Rapids Griffins


2011-12

SEASON SCHEDULE S

M

T

OCTOBER W

T

F

S

S

M

NOVEMBER

1 2 9 RCH 6:05

3

4

10

11

17

HAM

HOU 6:05

24

30

31

S

M

7:30

25

5 12 19 26

6

7

W

7:00

20

OKC

OKC

20

27

ABB

MIL

OKC 5:00

S

8:00

7:00

M

5

6

W

M

T

7:00

24

JANUARY

8:05

LE

CHA

16

CHA

18

19

RCH

8:00

LE

7:30

7:00

7:30

3:00

7:00

22

23

24

22

29

PEO

MIL

29

30

31

S

M

T

7:00

6:00

T

F

S

HAM

23

24

7:00

W

T

F

S

4

5

ABB

ABB

HOU

12

TEX 7:00

14

LE

RCH

PEO

PEO

7:00

W

26

10:00

7:00

8:00

10:00

7:00

8:00

MARCH T

F

S

1

RCH

OKC

HAM 5:00

5

6

TEX 8:30

8

9

HOU

7:00

16

17

PEO

HOU 6:05

12

TEX

14

15

TOR

HAM

23

LE

TOR

18

19

SA

7:00

21

8:00

HAM

3:00

30

7:00

HOU

21

8

TOR

HOU

14

HAM

22

28

7:00

9

20

3:00

26

21

7:35

2

13

M

OKC

HAM

7:00

8

5:00

S

MIL

16

1

19

TOR

17

15

7

CHI

27

RCH

SA

7:30

7:00

HAM

SA

26

HAM

7:00

7:00

FEBRUARY T

10

3

15

S

RFD

10

RFD

7:00

Noon

9

13 27

8

2

12 26

CHA

8

CHI

LE

4

1

MIL

7:00

S

3

RFD

8

20

F

LE

CHI

1

ABB

T

7:00

S

7

25

8:00

14

W

1

F

6

19

8:00

7

T

T

5

7:00

13

15

DECEMBER T

6

TOR

4 18

8:05

13

TOR

4:00

RFD

PRIMARY AFFILIATE OF THE DETROIT RED WINGS

28

8:00

7:00

7:00

7:00

7:00

5:00

OKC

29

T

W

2

3

TEX

9

RCH 7:05

7:00

7:00

11

5:00

APRIL T

F

S

5

TOR

TOR

12

CHI

HAM

7:00

7:00

3:00

7:00

Games broadcast live on

TO PURCHASE TICKETS OR FOR MORE INFO, VISIT GRIFFINSHOCKEY.COM OR CALL 1.800.2.HOCKEY

Home

26

8:30

8:00

27

Away

28

7:00

7:00

7:00

8:35

7:00

SA

23

OKC

29

CHA

OKC

7:00

8:00

7:00

*All times Eastern. Dates, opponents, and times subject to change.

J&H Family Stores Post-Game Open Skate Huntington Bank Post-Game Autograph Session Fan 4-Pack Home Game Griff’s Reading Goals Redemption Date

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

Grand Rapids Griffins 9


Dear Grand Rapids Griffins Fans, As we enter the 16th season of Griffins hockey, one theme keeps coming to my mind: the more things change, the more they stay the same. In June, we bid farewell to Bob McNamara, the only general manager our franchise had ever known and now the president of our North Division rivals, the Hamilton Bulldogs. While we wish Bob nothing but success – except for our 10 games against his new team this season – our hockey operation will, in many ways, carry on much as it has the last several seasons. As our 10-year affiliation with the Detroit Red Wings has evolved, they have assumed greater responsibilities and a more active role in our hockey operations, to the point where they provided nearly all of our players the last several seasons. This year, for the first time, they will supply or acquire every player on the Griffins’ roster, with a steady supply of reinforcements coming through a re-emphasized affiliation with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. Detroit’s appreciation for its relationship with Grand Rapids, recently demonstrated by September’s return of the Red & White Game after an eight-year absence, should also be reflected in the caliber of veterans and rookies who will wear the Griffin this season. While we fully commit our roster to the Red Wings, they continue to entrust our coaching staff – Curt Fraser, soon to be the winningest head coach in Griffins history, and long-time assistant Jim Paek – with the crucial task of developing those prospects into future NHL players. More than ever, the success of the Griffins-Red Wings relationship will be evidenced at Joe Louis Arena. Led by rising stars such as Jimmy Howard and Niklas Kronwall, at least 10 Griffins alumni are expected to play prominent roles with Detroit this season. These players whom we’ve come to know so well at Van Andel Arena are increasingly responsible for sustaining Detroit’s unmatched tradition of excellence. Our arena is also where many retired legends of Hockeytown are staying involved in the game, as Chris Chelios, Chris Osgood, Jiri Fischer and Aaron Downey frequently come here to work with our players in their various coaching or player development capacities. Past Griffins are helping determine Detroit’s present success, and former Red Wings are preparing Grand Rapids’ current players for their NHL futures – just the way we dreamed it up back in 2002, and one more reason both teams are hopeful of extending our affiliation for years to come. On behalf of everyone in the Griffins organization, I thank you for your continued support and look forward to experiencing the 2011-12 season with you. 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 76th 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 across North America annually. Once again in 2011-12, 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 338 players took the ice in both the AHL and the NHL. This season brings a new look to the AHL landscape as we welcome the city of St. John’s, Newfoundland, back to the league, with the St. John’s IceCaps set to take the ice at Mile One Centre for their inaugural campaign as the top affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. We continue to be proud of our tradition of developing the best hockey talent in the world, with over 87 percent of today’s NHL players, coaches and officials having honed their skills in the American Hockey League, including reigning Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas and 2011 NHL MVP Corey Perry. 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 Binghamton Senators enter this season as the defending Calder Cup champions after capturing the city’s first-ever AHL title last June. This year’s Senators are looking to hold off 29 other teams whose ultimate goal will also be the 2012 Calder Cup championship. We invite fans from across the league to join us at the world-famous Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., on January 29 and 30 for our annual celebration of AHL excellence, the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic -- featuring the Skills Competition, All-Star Game and AHL Hall of Fame inductions. 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

Grand Rapids Griffins 11


2011-2012 AHL DIRECTORY

EASTERN CONFERENCE ATLANTIC DIVISION: Manchester, Portland, Providence, St. John’s, Worcester NORTHEAST DIVISION: Adirondack, Albany, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Springfield EAST DIVISION: Binghamton, 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: Joe Paterson ENTERED AHL: 1996-97 (as Philadelphia Phantoms) CALDER CUPS: Two (1998, 2005) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 10 of 15 2010-11 RECORD: 31-39-4-6, 72 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 5 2010-11 RECORD: 32-42-1-5, 70 pts. WEBSITE: www.thealbanydevils.com

BINGHAMTON SENATORS

NHL AFFILIATION: Ottawa Senators HOME ICE: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena (4,710) PRESIDENT: Tim Smith HEAD COACH: Kurt Kleinendorst ENTERED AHL: 2002-03 CALDER CUPS: One (2011) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 4 of 9 2010-11 RECORD: 42-30-3-5, 92 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: Brent Thompson ENTERED AHL: 2001-02 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 6 of 10 2010-11 RECORD: 30-39-4-7, 71 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: 13 of 14 2010-11 RECORD: 40-32-2-6, 88 pts. WEBSITE: www.ctwhale.com

12 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: 62 of 73 2010-11 RECORD: 46-26-3-5, 100 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: 9 of 10 2010-11 RECORD: 44-26-4-6, 98 pts. WEBSITE: www.manchestermonarchs.com

NORFOLK ADMIRALS

NHL AFFILIATION: Tampa Bay Lightning HOME ICE: Norfolk Scope (8,704) GENERAL MANAGER: Julien BriseBois HEAD COACH: Jon Cooper ENTERED AHL: 2000-01 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 8 of 11 2010-11 RECORD: 39-26-9-6, 93 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 18 2010-11 RECORD: 47-24-7-2, 103 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 19 2010-11 RECORD: 38-36-3-3, 82 pts. WEBSITE: www.providencebruins.com

SPRINGFIELD FALCONS

NHL AFFILIATION: Columbus Blue Jackets HOME ICE: MassMutual Center (6,789) GENERAL MANAGER: Bruce Landon HEAD COACH: Rob Riley ENTERED AHL: 1994-95 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 6 of 17 2010-11 RECORD: 35-40-2-3, 75 pts. WEBSITE: www.falconsahl.com


2011-2012 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 WEBSITE: www.stjohnsicecaps.com

SYRACUSE CRUNCH

NHL AFFILIATION: Anaheim Ducks HOME ICE: Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter (6,159) GENERAL MANAGER: Vance Lederman HEAD COACH: Mark Holick ENTERED AHL: 1994-95 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 9 of 17 2010-11 RECORD: 35-38-3-4, 77 pts. WEBSITE: www.syracusecrunch.com

WESTERNNORTHCONFERENCE DIVISION: Grand Rapids, Hamilton, Lake Erie, Rochester, Toronto MIDWEST DIVISION: Charlotte, Chicago, Milwaukee, Peoria, Rockford WEST DIVISION: Abbotsford, 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: 1 of 2 2010-11 RECORD: 38-32-4-6, 86 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 1 2010-11 RECORD: 44-27-2-7, 97 pts. WEBSITE: www.gocheckers.com

CHICAGO WOLVES

NHL AFFILIATION: Vancouver Canucks HOME ICE: Allstate Arena (16,692) GENERAL MANAGER: Wendell Young HEAD COACH: Craig MacTavish ENTERED AHL: 2001-02 CALDER CUPS: Two (2002, 2008) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 7 of 10 2010-11 RECORD: 39-30-5-6, 89 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: 10 of 12 2010-11 RECORD: 58-21-0-1, 117 pts. WEBSITE: www.wbspenguins.com

WORCESTER SHARKS

NHL AFFILIATION: San Jose Sharks HOME ICE: DCU Center (6,800) GENERAL MANAGER: Wayne Thomas HEAD COACH: Roy Sommer ENTERED AHL: 2006-07 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 3 of 5 2010-11 RECORD: 36-31-4-9, 85 pts. WEBSITE: www.sharksahl.com

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS

NHL AFFILIATION: Detroit Red Wings HOME ICE: Van Andel Arena (10,834) HEAD COACH: Curt Fraser BEGAN PLAY: 1996-97 (IHL) ENTERED AHL: 2001-02 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 6 of 10 2010-11 RECORD: 36-34-2-8, 82 pts. WEBSITE: www.griffinshockey.com

HAMILTON BULLDOGS

NHL AFFILIATION: Montreal Canadiens HOME ICE: Copps Coliseum (8,819) GENERAL MANAGER: Pierre Gauthier HEAD COACH: Clement Jodoin ENTERED AHL: 1996-97 CALDER CUPS: One (2007) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 12 of 15 2010-11 RECORD: 44-27-2-7, 97 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: 8 of 10 2010-11 RECORD: 46-28-1-5, 98 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: David Quinn ENTERED AHL: 2007-08 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 1 of 4 2010-11 RECORD: 44-28-3-5, 96 pts. WEBSITE: www.lakeeriemonsters.com Grand Rapids Griffins 13


2011-2012 AHL DIRECTORY MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS

TEXAS STARS

OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS

TORONTO MARLIES

NHL AFFILIATION: Nashville Predators HOME ICE: Bradley Center (17,845) GENERAL MANAGER: Paul Fenton HEAD COACH: Kirk Muller ENTERED AHL: 2001-02 CALDER CUPS: One (2004) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 9 of 10 2010-11 RECORD: 44-22-6-8, 102 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: 1 of 1 2010-11 RECORD: 40-29-2-9, 91 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: Jared Bednar ENTERED AHL: 2005-06 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 3 of 6 2010-11 RECORD: 42-30-3-5, 92 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: 41 of 55 2010-11 RECORD: 31-39-5-5, 72 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 4 2010-11 RECORD: 38-33-4-5, 85 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: 2 of 9 2010-11 RECORD: 40-33-4-3, 87 pts. WEBSITE: www.sarampage.com 14 Grand Rapids Griffins

NHL AFFILIATION: Dallas Stars HOME ICE: Cedar Park Center (6,863) GENERAL MANAGER: Scott White HEAD COACH: Jeff Pyle ENTERED AHL: 2009-10 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 2 of 2 2010-11 RECORD: 41-29-4-6, 92 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: 3 of 6 2010-11 RECORD: 37-32-1-10, 85 pts. WEBSITE: www.marlies.ca

2011-12 PLAYOFF FORMAT Eight teams in each conference will qualify for the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs, with the three division winners earning the top three seeds and the next five best teams in order of regular-season points 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 highestremaining seed plays the lowestremaining seed.


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T

HISTORY

he American Hockey League is enjoying its 76th season of play in 2011-12, 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. 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; the 75th championship was captured by the Binghamton Senators last spring.

O

Terry Sawchuk Honored Member, Hockey Hall of Fame 1949 AHL Rookie of the Year 1950 Calder Cup Champion

LEGENDS

ver the past three-quarters of a century, the American Hockey 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.

T

he 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 sixth class of inductees, recognized in 2011, included Mitch Lamoureux, Harry Pidhirny, Maurice Podoloff and Larry Wilson. They join the likes of Johnny Bower, Fred Glover, Jody Gage, 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 87 percent of the players are AHL alumni, including 2011 Hart Trophy recipient Corey Perry and two-time Lady Byng Award winner Martin St. Louis. Three members of the 2010 AHL All-Rookie Team -- John Carlson, P.K. Subban and Logan Couture -- duplicated the feat in the NHL in 2010-11, and former Calder Cup finalists Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne were among the members of the NHL’s postseason First and Second All-Star Teams.

Photo: Nashville Predators

The 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins were stocked with AHL graduates as well, among them Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas. Pekka Rinne 2011 Second Team NHL All-Star 2006, 2008 AHL All-Star

18 Grand Rapids Griffins


PLAYERS

During the 2010-11 season, more than 850 AHL alumni played in the

COACHES

Photo: Boston Bruins

National Hockey League, including 320 who skated in both leagues last year alone. Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek, Ottawa’s Jason Spezza and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux were among the 16 AHL graduates who led their NHL teams in scoring, and former AHL All-Stars Jimmy Howard, Jaroslav Halak and Miikka Kiprusoff were among the 27 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 breakout rookies like Luke Adam, Zac Dalpe, Kyle Palmieri, Nazem Kadri and 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs MVP Robin Lehner.

Former AHL goaltender Tim Thomas won the Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies with the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in 2010-11.

At the start of the 2011-12 season, the NHL featured 23 head coaches who were former AHL bench

bosses, including the last seven Stanley Cup champions in 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). New head coaches in the NHL this season include Florida’s Kevin Dineen, Dallas’s Glen Gulutzan, Minnesota’s Mike Yeo and Winnipeg’s Claude Noel, all promoted from the AHL during the offseason. “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, 2010 Stanley Cup Champion

The 2010-11 season saw more than 6 million fans attend AHL games for JustSports Photography

FANS

The Hershey Bears increased their attendance at Giant Center for the seventh year in a row while leading the AHL for the fifth consecutive season.

the 10th year in a row; since 2001, AHL games have been played before more than 65 million fans in arenas across North America. The Hershey Bears paced the league by averaging 9,800 fans per game last year, and on Feb. 19 the Connecticut Whale drew 21,673 fans to a celebration of hockey at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., that included the second outdoor game in AHL history.

STARS

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

JustSports Photography/AHL

an All-Star Skills Competition and All-Star Game. The 2012 AHL All-Star Classic will be held at historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., on January 29-30, 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. Of the 562 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 93 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Brad Boyes, Dan Boyle, Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell, Chris Kunitz, Ryan Miller, Zach Parise, Bobby Ryan, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal and Tomas Vokoun.

Bobby Butler 2011 AHL All-Star Game MVP

Grand Rapids Griffins 19


It feels good... The Griffins have numerous ways to help you stay connected with your team, both during games and when you are away from Van Andel Arena. r song You can now tweet you a tweet d Sen xx! Ma requests to DJ e to to @GriffDJMaxx – be sur name st arti , title g son the include g. hta has G GR and the #go

We want to see your photos from the game! Share your pictures with us on our Facebook wall for the chance to win great prizes all season long.

20 Grand Rapids Griffins

...to connect Check out our blog, Ha lf Eagle, Half Lion, All Griffin, and its Afternoon Shift posts for frequent com pilations of links to news, videos and fea tures about the Griffins and our NHL alu mni gathered from dozens of source s across the web. Go to grgriffins.wordp ress.com.

Download the official Griffins iPhone and Android app, featuring schedule, roster, team and arena information and more. Visit griffinshockey.com/app.

Let your friends know that you’re at the game and tha t they are missing out if they’r e not here too – check in when yo u get here on Foursquare or Faceb ook to get free stuff!

use Twitter, make sure you For our fans who use ing eet tw en wh the hashtag #goGRG tweets will be from the games. Your or screen near eri ext an projected onto de An l Arena. Also, the SE corner of Van d former Griffins an t ren cur find a list of ings prospects dW Re and other @Detroit witter. nT Go /GR t.ly /bi p:/ at htt

Most importantly, introduce yourself to your fellow fans sitting around you, have a good time, and cheer your hearts out for the Griffins!


Detroit

Red Wings

Photos: Getty Images

Griffins forwards Cory Emmerton, Tomas Tatar and Jan Mursak each scored his first NHL goal while playing for the Red Wings last season.

Since the Grand Rapids-Detroit affiliation began in 2002, Griffins fans have proudly watched 46 players move on to play for the Red Wings – including the likes of Jimmy Howard, Justin Abdelkader, Jonathan Ericsson, Valtteri Filppula, Darren Helm, Jiri Hudler and Niklas Kronwall – while also enjoying the opportunity to see some of Detroit’s brightest stars play at Van Andel Arena 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

MANAGEMENT

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

COACHING STAFF

Mike Babcock, Head Coach Jeff Blashill, Assistant Coach Bill Peters, Assistant Coach Keith McKittrick, Video Coach Jim Bedard, Goaltending Coach Chris Osgood, Goaltending Development Coach Aaron Downey, AHL Strength and Conditioning Coach

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 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 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 (2008-09) and Andreas Lilja (2009-10).

Grand Rapids Griffins 21


Story by Mark Newman

Story and photos by Mark Newman

of a Defenseman Veteran Garnet Exelby has polished his play over the years to become a dependable defenseman coveted by coaches.

Coaches can teach skating, stickhandling and how to play defense, but one thing they can’t teach is experience. So when the Detroit Red Wings saw an opportunity to add Garnet Exelby in the offseason, the NHL club signed the veteran blueliner to provide depth within the organization. When he was assigned to Grand Rapids, Exelby was a natural choice to become the captain of the Griffins. He entered the 2011-12 season having played in 408 NHL games, nearly as many as his 22 other teammates combined. Griffins head coach Curt Fraser believes Exelby has been everything he was advertised to be and more. “I think he’s been even better than we thought,” Fraser said. “He’s a good leader on the ice as well as in the locker room. He’s been a real stabilizing force who helps all of our young defensemen, plus he’s physical and can find the back of the net once in a while, which is a bonus.” There’s no secret to why a player like Exelby is a good fit on a young team like the Griffins. He is the 22 Grand Rapids Griffins

epitome of “what you see is what you get” – a strong defenseman who isn’t afraid to pressure the opposition and who likes to throw his weight around when the opportunity presents itself. “Overall, I’ve tried to become a steady, solid player,” Exelby said. “If I can pitch in with other facets of the game besides defense, I will. But for the most part, I just want to be dependable.” Exelby concedes that he is a better defenseman than he was 10 years ago when he was a member of the Calder Cup-winning Chicago Wolves as a rookie in 2001-02. “Experience is obviously the best teacher,” he said. “I think I’ve gotten better positionally, doing less running around. I’m a little more patient now. I’m continually trying to be more poised with the puck and make good plays.” Exelby, who grew up playing hockey on the western prairies of Canada, developed a reputation that could be traced, in part, to a strong work ethic. He also has a knack for knocking the heads off unsuspecting opponents with bone-crushing, open-ice hits.


There was one game in 2007, for example, when Exelby leveled three Colorado Avalanche players in the span of five seconds. Other YouTube staples show the hard-hitting defenseman blasting Mats Sundin and Miroslav Satan on separate occasions. Now, at age 30, Exelby is careful to pick his spots. He hasn’t become gun-shy, but he has learned that he doesn’t want to punish his team by trying to put the big hurt on an opponent. “I still like to be physical, but the biggest thing I’ve learned is that you’ve got to let the game come to you,” he said. “You don’t need to be running around, looking for hits. When you get a chance and the guy’s got no way out, then you can put a good crack on him. “You’ve got to look at the risk-reward and weigh your options. It happens fast, but if you smell danger, you probably should back off and assume a defensive posture. It’s the best way to stay out of trouble.” Exelby is trying his best to be a good example to the Griffins’ young defensemen. He gladly points to his counterpart on the Red Wings as the epitome of the perfect defenseman. “Nick Lidstrom makes it look easy, but there’s a reason – he’s never caught in a bad spot.” As a veteran who played six seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers and one with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Exelby knows his play will be scrutinized by the younger players who aspire to reach the NHL, and he’s fine with the attention. “The older I get, the more I want to be a leader and good mentor to pay it back,” he said. “I had a lot of

Exelby was a natural choice to serve as captain of the Griffins.

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Exelby has played 408 games in the NHL with the Atlanta Thrashers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

good examples to follow when I was younger and I think it really helped me.” He is thankful for the example set by his parents. His father, a pharmaceutical sales rep, and his mother, an auditor for Revenue Canada, worked hard to provide for Exelby, his brother Danny and sister Whitney. “They were always completely supportive,” he said. “They were always there for me and to take me to my little hockey tournaments and games. You hear these nightmare stories of parents getting into altercations with coaches and other parents, but they never yelled and screamed. All that mattered was that I was having fun.” One of the biggest influences on his career was the late Brad McCrimmon, the former NHL defenseman and Red Wings assistant coach who was killed in the Russian airplane crash last September that claimed the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team, including former Griffins Pavol Demitra, Karel Rachunek and Stefan Liv. McCrimmon, who was known as “Beast” for his gruff demeanor, was a keen and confident coach who earned the respect of those who played for him. He was the coach of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades during Exelby’s first two years in junior hockey. The pair were reunited in Atlanta, where McCrimmon served as an assistant coach from 2003-08 before joining the Red Wings’ coaching staff under Mike Babcock. “He made me a pro before I even had a chance to become a pro, which allowed me to hit the ground running,” Exelby said. “I was lucky enough to play for him again in Atlanta, and it’s still hard to believe he’s gone. He seemed so indestructible.” Exelby also learned a lot from current Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins, an NHL journeyman who was his senior by 14 years and who served as his first defensive partner in Chicago.

ROAD WARRIOR Garnet Exelby got married last summer. He and his wife Kate hope to find time to go on their honeymoon this coming summer, although they have already done their share of travel. In the summer of 2008, for example, they took a five-week odyssey to Dubai, Egypt, Italy and Croatia. Staying at hostels and budget hotels, they embraced an “Amazing Race” mindset, making arrangements on the fly, often booking only their airfare in advance. “You want to see everything when you go on these trips and you never can because it’s impossible,” he said. “You rank what you want to see and do the best you can.” Here are his off-the-cuff impressions: “Dubai was quite interesting. I thought it was a long way to go for a place that is really trying to be like here. It was a lot like going to South Florida. They had a

24 Grand Rapids Griffins

black diamond ski hill in a mall there and that was a lot of fun. You can’t say there are a lot of places in the world with something like that.” “In Egypt, we went almost everywhere on the Nile from top to bottom. It’s incredible to see how much has taken place in that country: from the invention of paper to the mathematics that allowed them to build those incredible structures 5,000 years ago, it’s amazing.” “Italy was fun. To see in person things like the Sistine Chapel, Saint Peter’s Basilica and Vatican City – all those places you see in the movies or on TV – is incredible, and to see the scale of the artwork is pretty amazing. We waited three hours to see Michelangelo’s David and it was worth it.” “Croatia was my favorite place of all. It’s this very naturally beautiful country that got a bad name from the turmoil with the former Yugoslavia and the conflict with Bosnia. The beaches are beautiful and their national parks are incredible. It was a great way to wind down the trip.”


“Dallas helped me so much,” Exelby said. “We played so well together that at some point they wouldn’t pair us in training camps because they wanted me to learn to play with other people. He was definitely a good influence on me.” Exelby has very fond memories of his rookie season in Chicago. “It was one of my favorite years,” he said. “Chicago’s a great organization and I got treated very well. Winning a championship there was incredible.” Being so young, Exelby said he didn’t appreciate at the time how difficult it really is to win a title. To illustrate his point, Exelby said he has been in the playoffs only twice in the ensuing decade. He would like nothing better than to change his luck this season. He knows if he can help the Griffins win a championship, it might do more than look good on his resume. “I still relish the idea of playing in the NHL and I’d like the chance to get back there,” he said. “In the short term, I want to try to be a good example here, but at the same time you never want to give up that fight because once you do, you might find out you don’t have a job in any league. “You always want to keep pushing to play in the NHL.”

DISHING IT OUT

When Exelby travels, he tries to eat the local food as much as possible. “Even if it’s something that nobody would eat here, I’ll try it,” he said. His wife, who studied abroad and has traveled to close to 50 countries, doesn’t share his culinary interest. “She’s a vegetarian anyway, so her choices would be limited.” What are some of the more exotic entrées he’s tried? “In Iceland, I ate horse meat, which is not something you find here. It wasn’t too bad, but I kept thinking about eating a horse, so I couldn’t get my head around it. “One of the big things in Iceland is bird-watching, especially puffin, but I couldn’t really eat it, so I settled on this other sea bird called the guillemot. It’s comparable to puffin. If you’ve ever had ostrich, it’s a bit liver-like. Lots of iron. It was alright – I didn’t mind it.” “In Croatia, I had a black ink squid risotto. They use the ink sac of the squid as a sauce. It’s got quite a strong fish taste to it. I’m not sure if I enjoyed that one or not. I definitely gave it a good shot.”

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MARK YOUR CALENDAR! 2011-12 Griffins PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE

Feb. 4

of-a-kind speed painter/Jersey Auction to benefit Van Andel Institute Feb. 20: Reds, Whites and Brews wine and beer tasting benefit for Easter Seals Michigan at the Goei Center Feb. 28: Griffins vs. Sled Wings Sled Hockey Game at Griff’s IceHouse March 3: Star Wars Night presented by Consumers Energy

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 get your $1 beers and $1 hot dogs served to you in your seats! Call 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit griffinshockey.com/dzone to get your tickets today! College Nights: Every Friday, college students can show their ID to purchase a lower 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.

Feb. 18

Feb. 4: Hockey Day in West Michigan presented by Lake Michigan Credit Union/Niklas Kronwall Bobblehead Giveaway

SEASON-LONG PROMOTIONS

Mar. 3

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: Before and after every Wednesday home game through February, show your ticket to that night’s game to receive great food and drink specials at participating Arena District restaurants and bars, including Peppino’s Sports Lounge, home of the Griffins’ Wednesday post-game parties. Visit griffinshockey.com/hockeynight for a list of participating restaurants. Winning Wednesday presented by Amway: 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 free t-shirt.

March 17: Griffins BBQ Set Giveaway presented by Comerica Feb. 11: Griffins Playing Card Giveaway presented Bank/Jersey Auction by J&H Family Stores to benefit PennyBen & American Cancer Feb. 11 Society’s Hope Lodge Feb. 7: Griffins Booster Club Silent Auction at Applause Event Center

Sunday is Fun Day!: Every Sunday, purchase $1 Pepsi drinks from 4-6 p.m. Enjoy live music from Jaded 8 and the J&H Family Stores Post-Game Skate. Senior Sunday presented by MapleCreek Senior Living: Every Sunday, fans 55 and older with ID can purchase a Lower Level Center Ice ticket for $15 and play bingo in the arena banquet room from 4-5 p.m.

Mar. 17

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.

Feb. 12: Brendan Smith Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Michigan Office Solutions

Mar. 17

March 27: Griffins Booster Club Awards Banquet Feb. 18: Community for a Cure Purple Game presented by Van Andel Institute/T-Shirt and Rally at Applause Event Center Towel Giveaways/Paintjam with Dan Dunn, a one- March 31: Greg Amadio Bobblefists Giveaway Feb. 18 presented by Appletree Christian Learning Centers/ Appearance by the Russian Bar Trio circus act featured on America’s Got Talent April 13: Season Finale presented by Huntington Bank/“Beat Chicago” Rally Towel Giveaway/ Jersey Auction 28 Grand Rapids Griffins

Fan 4 Packs: For select games, receive four tickets and $12 in concession cash for a great low price. Valid for games on Feb. 11 and March 17 and 31. Visit griffinshockey.com/f4p or call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2. J&H Family Stores Post-Game Skates: Feb. 4, 11 and 12; March 3, 17 and 31; and April 13 Huntington Bank Post-Game Autograph Sessions: Feb. 4, 12 and 18; and March 17 MOS Corner Office presented by Michigan Office Solutions: Located on the terrace level above section 118, this section provides the best seats in the house for groups of up to 30 people, with La-Z-Boy chairs and an array of amenities. Call (616) 774-4585. All promotions and dates subject to change. For more information, visit griffinshockey.com.


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Grand Rapids Griffins 29


A MATTER OF TIME SAVVY INVESTMENT Story and photos by Mark Newman

Story and photos Mark Newman Storybyand photos by Mark Newman

The more minutes under his belt, the more likely that center Joakim Andersson will earn a job in Detroit.

Nyquist was a fourth-round pick of the Red Wings in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

If there’s one thing that works to the advantage of a young hockey player, it’s time. For Swedish prospect Joakim Andersson, who turns just 23 on Feb. 5, it means everything. Time to improve his English. Time to get more comfortable with living in a new country. Time to adapt to smaller rinks and a more physical style of hockey. Time to improve his skating and quickness. Time to strengthen his play at both ends of the ice. Time to teach his teammates how to correctly pronounce his name. “It’s ‘you-uh-kim,’” said the affable Andersson, who hears his name pronounced “joke-im” time after time; so often, in fact, that he is resigned to living with the American pronunciation. Now in his second season with the Griffins, Andersson is starting to show why the Detroit Red Wings selected him in the third round (88th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Andersson is the all-time leader in international games played for the Swedish national team. He has four major international tournaments on his resume, starting with the 2006 IIHF World U18 Championship. He helped Sweden win a bronze medal at the 2007 version of the same tournament, then boosted his homeland to a silver medal at the 2008 World Junior Championship when he tallied six assists in six games.

Andersson was an alternate captain of the Swedish team at the 2009 World Junior Championship, once again taking home a silver medal. Centering his team’s second line, he recorded three goals and three assists in six contests. Not surprisingly, he treasures his time spent playing on the international stage. “It’s helped me a lot,” he said. “Playing against the best guys in your age group in the world is a great experience and a lot of fun. We didn’t win, but we came close twice by making it to the finals. When you get to play in a final (game), you learn what it’s all about.” Andersson also values his time in the Swedish Elite League, playing for Frölunda, a professional ice hockey club based in Gothenburg, located on the west coast of Sweden alongside the North Sea. He had played two full seasons and a part of another in Sweden’s top league by the time he was 21. “When I got brought up to the big club, I had more of a defensive role than I had in the second division, and it helped make me a stronger defensive player,” he said. Andersson credits his strong two-way play in Frölunda to the coaching of Ulf Dahlén, who played 14 seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. “He taught me a lot about faceoffs,” Andersson said.

30 Grand Rapids Griffins


“We also had a lot of veteran centermen during my three years there.” Andersson felt he had paid his dues in Sweden by the time he signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Red Wings in 2010. He talked to a cousin, Fredrik Johansson, who played for the AHL’s Springfield Falcons as an Edmonton Oilers prospect a couple of years earlier. “I looked up to him and I wanted to do the same thing,” said Andersson, who chose hockey over soccer when he was 14. “There really never was any question of whether I was going to play hockey instead of soccer.” His cousin warned him that the transition would not be easy and that it would take time to adjust. In fact, Johansson eventually returned to Sweden after one season. “He told me that it was a long season with a lot of games, and that it was a big difference between here and home,” Andersson said. “He also talked about the smaller rinks, that it was more physical and that you were expected to shoot more.” Indeed, playing an 80-game schedule was the greatest challenge for Andersson, who played in all but one of the Griffins’ games during his rookie season. “You’ve got to prepare yourself, both physically and mentally,” he said. “We never play three weekend games in Sweden. We hardly play back-to-back games, except for once or twice in a season. It was a big adjustment.” Andersson learned to sleep on 10-hour bus rides to places like Rochester, N.Y. “You don’t get as much

At the midpont of the season, Andersson had scored more goals than he did during his entire rookie year.

sleep as you would like, so you have to figure out how to save energy, how to sleep on the bus,” he said. The 2010-11 season, his first with the Griffins, was an exercise in time management, learning to make the most of his minutes, both on the ice and off. He admits that he discovered that he had a lot to learn. “Last year, I was a little up and down,” he said. “I had some good periods, but I wanted to be more consistent.” His play this year has demonstrated that his rookie year was time well spent. By the midpoint of the season, he had already topped his goal total from a year earlier and matched his points, in half as many games. “Andersson has probably been our most consistent forward,” said Griffins head coach Curt Fraser. “He’s played well in a lot of different situations, and he’s been contributing offensively as well as defensively.” Fraser has rewarded his young center with more minutes, putting him on the ice during critical situations, including the final minutes of close games, and by naming him an alternate captain. “He’s done a very good job since the day he first got here,” Fraser said. “He’s improved a lot and he continues to get better and better, which is why he got a chance to play with the Red Wings.” Andersson was promoted to Detroit on Dec. 27 and saw action in four games before returning to Grand Rapids in early January. “Of course, I had hoped to play some games (in the NHL), so it was good news when Curt told me that I was going to get called up. It was our first morning on the ice after our Christmas break, so it was like a late Christmas present. I called my dad and he spread the news. I got a lot of texts and calls after that.” Andersson made his debut in a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena. Although he played only eight shifts, logging 5:10 of ice time, he made a good impression. “He’s been here at a few camps and he’s working his way into being an NHL pro,” remarked Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. “He’s a big body, real good instincts. He’s probably going to be a third- or fourthline center (eventually).” Andersson was excited to get an opportunity to play in Detroit so early in his career. “It was a special feeling to put on the Red Wings jersey and skate onto the Joe,” he said. “I was a little nervous the first game, but when the puck dropped and I got in a shift, I felt comfortable right away.” Wearing the #63 that he was given in his first training camp, Andersson stayed in Detroit for three more games, eventually playing on a line with two other players with Griffins ties – rookies Gustav Nyquist and Cory Emmerton. “I think we played pretty well and created some chances,” Andersson said, a feeling echoed by the Red Wings coach. “I thought the Emmerton line was good,” Babcock said after unveiling his all-rookie line. “Nyquist gave us a spark; Andersson was good, made good decisions.” Grand Rapids Griffins 31


A strong two-way player, Andersson is one of the Griffins’ best faceoff men. There is little question that Andersson is a better player this season than he was a year ago. Whether it’s a matter of minutes or shooting more, he’s putting the puck into the net at a brisker clip. “I feel like I’m in the right spots more. Last year I had a hard time getting to the net because the ‘D’ here are bigger and stronger. Now I’m finding my way to the net. Almost all of my goals are rebounds or tips around the net. I love battling around the net.”

Andersson knows he will need to continue to improve to earn more minutes in Detroit. He is determined to ensure that his skating isn’t the issue that holds him back. “Since I was 13, people have told me that I need to become a better and faster skater, but I work hard in the summer and do workouts during the season to keep getting quicker. I know I’m not going to be a great skater, but I don’t think it’s a concern. I’ll keep working on it.” He would love to earn a job in Detroit next season, when the Red Wings are likely to host the 2013 Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at Michigan Stadium. Andersson played in the first outdoor game in Sweden, the 2009 Swedish Elite League Outdoor Classic. His team beat archrival Farjestads BK, 4-1, in front of 31,144 fans, which set the attendance record for a European game at the time. He remembers having goosebumps at the start, although it may have been the weather’s doing. “It was freezing cold,” he said. “It was a lot of fun to play outdoors in front of a good crowd.” Taking a regular shift with the Red Wings’ large Swedish contingent is something that he’s long dreamt about. He figures it’s just a matter of time.

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Grand Rapids Griffins 35


2011-2012

Roster

18

22

JOAKIM ANDERSSON Forward 6-2, 206 lbs. Born: 2/5/89 Munkedal, Sweden

8

LOUIS-MARC AUBRY Forward 6-4, 205 lbs. Born: 11/11/91 Arthabaska, Que.

25 WILLIE COETZEE Forward 5-10, 188 lbs. Born: 11/7/90 Johannesburg, South Africa

2

CHRIS CONNER Forward 5-7, 180 lbs. Born: 12/23/83 Livonia, Mich.

20 GARNET EXELBY Defenseman 6-1, 210 lbs. Born: 8/16/81 Craik, Sask.

36 Grand Rapids Griffins

15

17

GLEASON FOURNIER Defenseman 6-0, 184 lbs. Born: 9/8/91 St. Fabien, Que.

FABIAN BRUNNSTROM Forward 6-1, 206 lbs. Born: 2/6/85 Jonstorp, Sweden

MITCH CALLAHAN Forward 6-0, 190 lbs. Born: 8/17/91 Whittier, Calif.

23

4 TRAVIS EHRHARDT Defenseman 5-11, 205 lbs. Born: 4/12/89 Calgary, Alta.

29 LANDON FERRARO Forward 6-0, 174 lbs. Born: 8/8/91 Trail, B.C.

ADAM ESTOCLET Forward 6-1, 190 lbs. Born: 3/24/89 Naperville, Ill.

33 DOUG JANIK Defenseman 6-1, 215 lbs. Born: 3/26/80 Agawam, Mass.


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Photo by Mark Newman


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40 Grand Rapids Griffins


10

32 JAMIE JOHNSON Forward 5-10, 182 lbs. Born: 1/23/82 London, Ont.

14

31 BRIAN LASHOFF Defenseman 6-3, 212 lbs. Born: 7/16/90 Albany, N.Y.

11

CHRIS MINARD Forward 6-1, 200 lbs. Born: 11/18/81 Owen Sound, Ont.

21

13

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

1 TREVOR PARKES Forward 6-2, 188 lbs. Born: 5/13/91 Fort Erie, Ont.

12

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

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

FRANCIS PARE Forward 5-10, 190 lbs. Born: 6/30/87 Lemoyne, Que.

3 SEBASTIEN PICHE Defenseman 6-0, 197 lbs. Born: 2/4/88 La Sarre, Que.

27 BRENDAN SMITH Defenseman 6-2, 198 lbs. Born: 2/8/89 Mimico, Ont.

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

9

16

7 BRENT RAEDEKE Forward 6-0, 200 lbs. Born: 5/29/90 Regina, Sask.

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

LOGAN PYETT Defenseman 5-10, 195 lbs. Born: 5/26/88 Regina, Sask.

19 TOMAS TATAR Forward 5-10, 186 lbs. Born: 12/1/90 Ilava, Slovakia

Mike Thomas Forward 6-1, 204 lbs. Born: 2/8/90 New Maryland, N.B. Grand Rapids Griffins 37


JOIN THE

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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 • And more! 38 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, or call (616) 774-4585 ext. 3047.


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OPPORTUNITY

ROCKS!

The Griffins Youth Foundation gives kids of all types a chance to play hockey. The Urban family’s introduction to the Griffins came Daniel Urban is not your average ice through the organization’s summer reading initiative, hockey player, nor is he your typical kid. which provides ticket vouchers to local libraries as rewards The 11-year-old boy has Asperger’s syndrome, for kids who complete summer reading programs. which is an autism spectrum disorder found in “We all went, and from the first game we were hooked,” otherwise normally functioning children who Adrienne said. “It was so much fun and we liked the family encounter difficulties in social interaction and exhibit atmosphere, and now Daniel lives for the Griffins.” restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior. It was at a game at Van Andel Arena where the You might not expect to find someone like Daniel Urbans learned about the opportunities that the Griffins even skating on the ice, let alone playing hockey on a team Youth Foundation provides with others. Kids with Asperger’s for kids to play at Griff’s syndrome can be socially awkward IceHouse at Belknap Park. or physically clumsy, not exactly Established in 1995, the a positive prescription for playing Griffins Youth Foundation a challenging game like hockey. promotes academic excellence, Thanks to the Grand Rapids community involvement Griffins Youth Foundation, Daniel and healthy lifestyles among is getting the opportunity to not the youth of West Michigan, only enjoy the sport he loves, but enhancing their lives through also to excel beyond expectations. hockey and ice-related sports. During a youth hockey game on “We try to provide a recent Saturday, Daniel celebrated opportunities for kids who would scoring three goals on the same never be able to participate in a shift, an incredible accomplishment pay-to-play program,” said Lynn for anyone, especially someone who Rabaut, executive director of could barely skate when he started. the Griffins Youth Foundation. “It’s an amazing opportunity,” “We look for children who said Daniel, who is in his second have a barrier to play, whether year in the program but his first it’s gender, a medical issue, a playing alongside his six-yearlearning disability, or financial old brother Gabriel. “I wouldn’t or emotional hardship.” be able to play if not for the In the Griffins Youth Griffins Youth Foundation.” Foundation hockey program, His progress has been very there are diverse kids of all encouraging to his parents – David, colors and types, from the an associate professor of English hearing impaired to a child at Calvin College, and Adrienne, Daniel Urban (left) poses with his parents, David with an insulin pump to the author of a healthy living and Adrienne, and his little brother, Gabriel. autistic kids like Daniel. blog (wholenewmom.com) who “We want to make sure also homeschools her two boys. that children – who wouldn’t have an opportunity “It’s done great things for Daniel because he had elsewhere – get the chance to play,” Rabaut said. never played a sport,” the boys’ father said. “Just to be “Other leagues are not in a position to accept the able to realize he can contribute to a team is a big deal.” type of players we embrace. We try to provide an “It means almost everything to him,” his mother atmosphere where kids can come in and learn to play.” acknowledged. “It’s been pretty unbelievable.” 40 Grand Rapids Griffins


Children with That opportunity Asperger’s syndrome starts with providing often display traits good mentors. that cause them to be “A lot of our kids abnormally intense or need the personal focused. They become guidance that our incredibly interested coaches have time to in one thing, almost to give,” Rabaut said. the point of obsession. “We’re providing “The first thing an opportunity to in the morning, he’s play where none reading the score might have existed, sheets and articles while encouraging a from the Internet,” positive atmosphere Adrienne said. “He’ll that promotes and call his dad and tell supports ideals him who’s injured, like sportsmanship who’s moving up and teamwork.” and moving down. It’s a healthy Learning to play hockey has been an awesome experience for The Griffins are a environment for Daniel Urban, who has Asperger’s syndrome. big deal to him.” kids like Daniel, In addition who would struggle to attending Griffins games at Van Andel Arena, in other programs if they even were afforded the the Urban family watches practices at Griff’s opportunity to play. “His coaches last year and IceHouse, which has allowed Daniel and his again this year have helped him a lot,” David said. brother to even meet a number of the players. “They give him the affirmation he needs.” “This is incredibly fun for me,” said Daniel, who also Daniel doesn’t need much affirmation when it comes enjoys writing a weekly essay for his coach, fulfilling the to following the exploits of his favorite team. His mother program’s homework requirement. He is excited that calls him the “Rain Man of the Griffins,” noting that he the Griffins Youth Foundation will expand its hockey not only can recite the names of all the players and their Graffiti 2011-2012.pdf 1 9/16/2011 10:44:35 AM program to 12th grade this fall. “If my parents allow me numbers, but can quote the three stars from a specific to keep playing, I plan on playing for a long time.” game, or recall the goaltender from a certain date.

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AMPLIFYING TALENTS

Story and photos by Mark Newman

Story and photos by Mark Newman

Brian Lashoff enjoys playing the blues, but he has no interest in singing them. When the young defenseman reported for training camp this past fall, he was anxious to put last year behind him. He had no desire to turn a frustrating season of shoulder and ankle injuries into a refrain. “I don’t think I’ve ever gone through a year like that,” Lashoff said. “I can look back at it now because I came out of it in a good way. I got physically stronger and mentally tougher.” Not being able to skate might have made him a better guitar player – he’s been plugging in an electric guitar since he was 11 – but it put him no closer to his dream of playing on the NHL stage. Limited to 37 games a year ago due to injuries, Lashoff added a few pounds and trained with his older brother Matt, a defenseman in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ system, in an effort to get bigger and stronger. At age 21, he is still a raw talent, but he’s no less motivated to prove all those scouts wrong. Passed over by every team in the annual NHL draft, Lashoff was signed by the Red Wings in 2008 after he impressed the organization with a strong performance as a free agent invitee to the team’s camp. It was an unforgettable opportunity – he sat between Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski in the Red Wings’ dressing room – and he became determined to show that all those other teams had made a mistake. His brother, a first-round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2005, helped keep him focused when he wasn’t playing. “I talked a lot with Matt,” Lashoff said of his brother, who is nearly four years older. “He’s young, but he’s played 44 Grand Rapids Griffins

Defenseman Brian Lashoff is making noise this season by playing to his strengths.

a long time and he’s been hurt and had his ups and downs, so he was someone I could talk to when I was injured or not in the lineup. “As brothers, we’re close, and he made me feel better about things. He let me know it wasn’t the end of the world, and he encouraged me to use it as a positive and to grow stronger as a person and a hockey player.” Lashoff has indeed become stronger. At the 2011-12 season’s midway point, he had already scored six goals after recording exactly zero a year ago. He also scored a goal in three consecutive games, something he had never done in his career. “I’m shooting the puck a lot more, which is the big thing,” he said. “I talked to the coaches and it’s something they want me to do, especially on the power play. I want to be a guy with a hard shot who can get the puck on net and give myself and the other guys a chance to score.” His defensive play is also stronger. “I’m moving my feet a lot more,” he said. “Obviously, being a D-man, I want to take care of my own area first, but being able to contribute offensively is huge if you want to get to the next level. I want to be a two-way guy who can contribute at both ends of the ice.” Last year was a disappointment because he came into the year with high expectations. He had a six-game audition with the Griffins at the close of each of his final two years in junior hockey. In the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs, he tallied a goal and four assists in eight games for the Griffins before getting injured against Manitoba. He also won a goal medal with Team USA at the 2010 World Junior Championship, besting host Canada with a thrilling 6-5 overtime victory.


“Winning a gold medal was probably the highlight of my career so far,” Lashoff said. “Being able to do it was pretty amazing, and accomplishing it in Canada made it even more rewarding. It’s something I will remember for the rest of my life.” He also has fond memories of the tail end of last season when he was selected to be a “black ace” during the first round of the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup Playoff run. Having the opportunity to practice with the team provided a big boost of confidence after what he had gone through during his injury-plagued season. “It was awesome,” Lashoff said. “Going through a season like I did was tough, but to experience the playoffs and practice with the guys up there was very rewarding. “To be able to extend my season was definitely helpful, too.” The experience helped jump start his preparation for this season, which has seen the tables turned on the Lashoff brothers. Matt tore his ACL in mid-November and is likely out for the season. It’s an ironic twist for the siblings, who may someday be hockey’s version of the Allman Brothers. Their father, Bob, used to play in rock bands and taught his sons how to play guitar when they were growing up in East Greenbush, N.Y., near Albany. “My dad gave us the opportunity to play a lot of sports – hockey, baseball, lacrosse – but he also showed us how to play guitar. During summers, Matt and I skate and work out hard in the morning, then play music the rest of the day. “We love playing, whether it’s with our dad and his friends, or just my brother and me playing in the backyard or on the porch. It’s an outlet for us. Some guys play video games, we play guitars.”

Lashoff was undrafted, but he was signed by the Red Wings as a free agent in 2008.

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Admission: $5 at the door, kids 2 and under free. Grand Rapids Griffins 45


Lashoff practiced with the Red Wings as a “black ace” during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In fact, Matt recently released his first CD, “Living on Heart,” which will definitely surprise people. Loren Harriet, who helped Yankees outfielders Bernie Williams and Nick Swisher make albums, produced the CD, which features an all-star cast of musicians. Recorded in New Jersey, the sessions included drummer Kenny Aronoff, who has played with John Mellencamp and John Fogerty; bassist Leland Sklar, who has played with almost everybody, from Jackson Browne to James Taylor; and keyboardist David Sancious, who was an original member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. “They’re some of the best in the world at what they do and it was pretty amazing to watch them work,” said Lashoff, who spent a weekend in the studio. “They all were so professional and to hear them laying down their tracks was really cool.” Lashoff was even invited by his brother to play guitar on one track (“Something I Know”). The record includes original songs as well as covers of Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me” and Little Feat’s “Cold, Cold, Cold.” While his brother is already planning on recording a second album, Lashoff has no illusions about his own prospects. “Playing music is something I love to do outside of hockey, but it’s a hobby,” he said. “Right now I’m more focused on hockey and I’m all about trying to make it to the NHL. That’s my main goal.”

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(Through Jan. 25, 2012)

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 Darryl Bootland............. 293 Matt Ellis......................... 282 Dave Van Drunen.......... 280 Derek King...................... 264 Evan McGrath................ 262

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

Goals Michel Picard................. 158 Jamie Tardif.......................78 Kip Miller...........................75 Derek King.........................73 Darryl Bootland................72 Francis Pare.......................71 Matt Ellis............................69 Jiri Hudler..........................65 Tomas Kopecky.................63 Donald MacLean...............62

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.......................94 Glen Metropolit................88 Jeff Nelson..........................87 Matt Ellis............................84 Cory Emmerton................77

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 Mike Fountain (108) (90) (55) 48 Grand Rapids Griffins

Marc Lamothe Daniel Larsson (54) (45)


Grand Rapids Griffins 49 Grand Rapids Griffins 49


Overseas Success A number of former Griffins have enjoyed success over the years playing in Europe’s top hockey leagues.

Credit: Eishockey.info

Playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins, or any of the his ninth season in the top Swiss league, where he has other 29 AHL teams, is not an automatic ticket to the been the model of consistency. Roest has recorded National Hockey League, but it is the surest path to goal totals of 17, 17, 16, 14, 16, 17, 15 and 14 over the the realization of countless dreams. past eight years. Since the Griffins’ first season in 1996-97, a total One of Roest’s teammates with the Griffins was of 123 different players - 17 goalies and 106 skaters Michigan State University product Bryan Adams, who - have gone on to play at least one game in the NHL. is now in his ninth season in Germany. Many have stuck for longer, but there has been a large Adams has played with several former Griffins number of former Griffins who have found greater in Germany, including Sean Tallaire, who played success on other stages across the globe. nine seasons there before retiring in 2010, and Ivan Goaltender Ian Gordon, for example, was a Ciernik, who spent six years in Germany and one in member of the Griffins during the team’s first three Russia before moving to Sweden this season. seasons (1996Ciernik is 1999). Although hardly the only he never played a well-traveled game in the NHL, former Griffin. he has found Nathan great success in Robinson, who Germany’s top played for the league, where he Griffins from 2002 is currently in his to 2005, spent five 12th season. seasons in the top Gordon German league was a fixture before moving in net for the to Sweden last Frankfurt Lions, year and now taking the club to Austria this to the German season. Goaltender Ian Gordon led the Frankfurt Lions to title in his first Jeff Ulmer, who the German championship in 2004. season with the played in Grand team when he Rapids during set a playoff record with three straight shutouts. He the 2001-02 season, has played parts of five years in remained in Frankfurt until 2010 when the team Germany, three years in Sweden, two years in Russia folded due to financial difficulties, then signed with and one year in the United Kingdom. Ingolstadt, with whom he currently plays. Blake Sloan, who was the captain of the Griffins While the Griffins have been a stepping stone during the 2004-05 season, tried his luck in Sweden to the Red Wings for players like Niklas Kronwall, for a year before finding a home in Germany, where Valtteri Filppula, Jiri Hudler, Darren Helm and he has played the last six seasons. recently named NHL all-star goaltender Jimmy Germany has been a favorite destination for a Howard, there have been others like Gordon who number of ex-Griffins, including Hugo Boisvert (eight have found their fortune overseas. seasons and counting), Rob Collins (six and counting) Stacy Roest played for the 2002-03 Griffins and and Todd Hlushko (six seasons). appeared in 244 NHL games with the Red Wings and Erich Goldmann, who played for the Griffins Minnesota Wild. The hard-working center is now in during the 1999-2000 season, when he appeared 50 Grand Rapids Griffins


in one NHL game with the Ottawa Senators, returned to his native Germany and played eight more years before retiring in 2008. Like Goldmann, there have been other European players who have returned to their homelands for the opportunity to build long careers. Petr Schastlivy was one of the Ottawa’s top prospects when he played for the Griffins from 200002. After 129 NHL contests with the Senators and Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Schastlivy returned to Russia, where he has played the last eight seasons. Stacy Roest has become a fixture in the top professional Konstantin Gorovikov played league in Switzerland. two seasons with the Griffins (19992001) before returning to Russia, Mike Fountain, who won 55 games over his two where he has played the last 11 seasons. seasons with the Griffins (1999-2001), spent seven Maxim Spiridonov was an all-star with the seasons in Russia. He led the league in goals-against Griffins during the 1998-99 season, then bounced average during his first season there, breaking the around the AHL with Springfield and Hamilton for all-time Russian shutout record with 14 in 43 starts. a couple of seasons before heading back to Russia. Marc Lamothe, who posted an impressive 54Outside of a single-season detour to Sweden, 34-13 record during his two seasons in Grand Spiridonov has spent the past 11 years playing in Rapids (2002-04), played five years in Russia before his native land. finishing his career with stints in Sweden and Russia became the adopted home of a pair of Germany. former Griffins goaltenders.

Grand Rapids Griffins 51


52 Grand Rapids Griffins


Grand Rapids Griffins 53


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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

GP 82 82 82 82 82 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80

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

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

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

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

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

G r i f f i n s A ll - S T a r s 1996-97 Jeff Nelson, Michel Picard, Pokey Reddick 1997-98 Ian Gordon, Kerry Huffman, Michel Picard 1998-99 Robert Petrovicky, Maxim Spiridonov 1999-00 John Gruden, Jani Hurme, Kevin Miller, Petr Schastlivy 2000-01 Mike Fountain, Joel Kwiatkowski, Travis Richards, Todd White 2001-02 Chris Bala, John Gruden, Kip Miller, Martin Prusek, Petr Schastlivy 2002-03 Mark Mowers, Marc Lamothe 2003-04 Jiri Hudler, Niklas Kronwall, Travis Richards, Nathan Robinson 2004-05 Niklas Kronwall, Joey MacDonald 2005-06 Valtteri Filppula, Jiri Hudler, Donald MacLean 2006-07 Kip Miller, Derek Meech 2007-08 Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard 2008-09 Jakub Kindl, Daniel Larsson 2009-10 Patrick Rissmiller 2010-11 Ilari Filppula, Brendan Smith 2011-12 Gustav Nyquist 58 Grand Rapids Griffins

Mike Fountain - 34 wins in 2000-01 Photo by John Grieshop

Joey MacDonald - 34 wins in 2004 Photo by Mark Newman

-05


SEASON LEADERS

(* = Led League)

SCORING 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 . . . . .

Michel Picard............................101 points Michel Picard............................. 69 points Glen Metropolit......................... 81 points Michel Picard............................. 68 points Derek King...............................83 points* Kip Miller.................................. 56 points Michel Picard............................. 84 points Michel Picard............................. 54 points Niklas Kronwall.......................... 53 points Jiri Hudler................................. 96 points Kip Miller.................................. 72 points Carl Corazzini............................. 60 points Darren Haydar........................... 80 points Jeremy Williams......................... 63 points Ilari Filppula ............................. 64 points

GOALS 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 . . . . .

Michel Picard....................................... 46 Michel Picard....................................... 28 Glen Metropolit................................... 28 Michel Picard....................................... 33 Slava Butsayev.................................... 33 Petr Schastlivy..................................... 22 Mark Mowers....................................... 34 Kevin Miller......................................... 27 Eric Manlow......................................... 21 Donald MacLean..................................56* Matt Ellis............................................. 26 Carl Corazzini....................................... 24 Darren Haydar..................................... 31 Jeremy Williams................................... 32 Jamie Tardif........................................ 27

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 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)

Michel Picard - 101 points in 1996

-97

Photo by Mark Newman

-06

Donald MacLean - 56 goals in 2005 Photo by Mark Newman

Darryl Bootland - 390 penalty minu Photo by Mark Newman

tes in 2005-06

Grand Rapids Griffins 59


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IT ALL STARTS HERE Detroit Niklas Kronwall, 2008

Since their inception in 1996, the Griffins have sent 123 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 the Cup each of the last four years and in six of the last seven seasons, with Boston’s Chris Kelly earning the honor last June. In chronological order, here are the 17 goalies and 106 skaters who have donned an NHL sweater after playing for Grand Rapids, along with the dates of their NHL debuts/returns. Kevyn Adams, 2006 Carolina

Tomas Kopecky, 2010 Chicago

68 Grand Rapids Griffins 68 Chris GrandKelly, Rapids2011 Griffins Boston

Mark Eaton, 2009 Pittsburgh


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32

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 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

33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64

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 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

65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96

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 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 Garrett Stafford 2/23/08 DET at VAN Darren Helm 3/13/08 DET vs. DAL Mattias Ritola 3/15/08 DET vs. NSH Clay Wilson 3/25/08 CBJ at NSH Darren McCarty 3/28/08 DET vs. STL 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 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 Bold = Played in the NHL this season (as of Jan. 25) Italics = Had name engraved on the Stanley Cup after playing for Grand Rapids

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

Grand Rapids Griffins 69 Grand Rapids Griffins 69


Whether the Griffins are at Van Andel Arena or on the road, ESPN 96.1 FM will bring it home, live with Bob Kaser Brought to you by the home for Griffins Hockey:

70 Grand Rapids Griffins


KIDS PAGE WHERE IN THE WORLD???? Can you match these fun facts with the birthplaces of the Griffins? Good luck!

FACTS 1. Celebrated its 700th anniversary in 2007______ 2. Name means “abundant with wild pigeons”______ 3. Home of the largest cemetery in the U.S.______ 4. Over 98% of its residents speak only French______ 5. First Canadian city to host the Winter Olympics______ 6. Home of the U.S.’s number-one ranked library______ 7. Perforated toilet paper was invented here______ 8. Responsible for 37% of the world’s wheat exports______ 9. Forty percent of the world’s gold is mined here______ 10. Its post office boasts the only chimney in the world with a window______ 11. Site of a monastery during medieval times______ 12. Lowest ZIP Code (01001) in the U.S.______ 13. Hosts the second-largest barbecue rib festival in North America______ 14. Offers 2.5-hour tours of the world’s largest zinc smelter______ 15. Has hosted live thoroughbred racing since 1897______ 16. Nearly every tree in this city was planted by hand______ 17. Same birthplace as former Griffin Tomas Kopecky______ 18. World’s 10th-largest city by population______ 19. Kicks off the largest dog sled race in the world, the Iditarod______ 20. The northern-most terminal of the Underground Railroad______ 21. Birthplace of former NHL great Mike Modano______

BIRTHPLACES A.

Agawam, Mass. (Doug Janik)

B.

Albany, N.Y. (Brian Lashoff)

C. Anchorage, Alaska (Jordan Pearce) D. Calgary, Alberta (Travis Ehrhardt) E.

Fort Erie, Ontario (Trevor Parkes)

F.

Halmstad, Sweden (Gustav Nyquist)

G. Ilava, Slovakia (Tomas Tatar) H. Johannesburg, South Africa (Willie Coetzee) I.

La Sarre, Quebec (Sebastien Piche)

J.

Livonia, Mich. (Chris Conner)

K.

London, Ontario (Jamie Johnson)

L.

Mimico, Ontario (Brendan Smith)

M. Munkedal, Sweden (Joakim Andersson) N. Naperville, Ill. (Adam Estoclet) O.

Owen Sound, Ontario (Chris Minard)

P.

Pictou, Nova Scotia (Joey MacDonald)

Q. Regina, Saskatchewan (Logan Pyett) R. Regina, Saskatchewan (Brent Raedeke) S.

Seoul, South Korea (Jim Paek)

T.

Trail, British Columbia (Landon Ferraro)

U. Whittier, Calif. (Mitch Callahan)

ANSWERS : 1. F 2. L 3. U 4. I 5. D 6. N 7. B 8. R (or Q) 9. H 10. P 11. M 12. A 13. K 14. T 15. E 16. Q (or R) 17. G 18. S 19. C 20. O 21. J Grand Rapids Griffins 71


PARTING

SHOT

Francis Pare elevates his play to stand tall against Milwaukee Admirals goaltender Jeremy Smith. Photo by Mark Newman 72 Grand Rapids Griffins



2011-12 Griffiti - Issue #3