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2012-13 SEASON ISSUE NO. 2

OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS


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B Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


Vol. 17, No. 2

TABLE OF CONTENTS

21

STARTING LINEUP

21 DOGGED DETERMINATION Former Ferris State Bulldog Chad Billins wants to prove that the Griffins made a wise choice when they signed the stray defenseman to a one-year contract. 28 THE MAN FROM HOPE Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan is a firm believer in the power of positive thinking. 36 STAND-UP GUY If there’s funny business going on, you can usually count on Triston Grant being nearby. 48 THE BRIGHT SIDE The NHL lockout has put the spotlight on the AHL and the terrific talent skating on the ice every night. 57 PERFORMANCE ENHANCER As the Griffins’ equipment manager, Brad “Dogg” Thompson plays an important role in helping to prepare the players to excel every game.

ON THE BENCH 2...........Next Opponents 5...........Chalk Talk 6...........Coming Attractions 9...........Griffins Schedule 12........AHL Tradition 14........AHL Team Directory 18........It Feels Good to Connect 19........Detroit Red Wings 26........Promotional Calendar 40........Meet the Griffins

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

COVER: Griffins rookie Chad Billins, who played his college hockey with the Ferris State University Bulldogs, poses with Mighty Mac, the English bulldog from the Sooper Yooper book series.

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

57

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 1


UPCOMING HOME OPPONENTS ROCKFORD (Dec. 9, Dec. 31) The IceHogs are working to make Shawn Lalonde (#9) a more consistent presence on the blue line. After being the team’s second-leading scorer during his rookie season in 2010-11, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound defenseman watched his point production get cut in more than half last year. Lalonde, 22, was a third-round draft pick (68th overall) of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2008.

PEORIA (Dec. 14, Jan. 12) The Rivermen like what they see from Anthony Peluso (#23) when they come to Grand Rapids. In four games at Van Andel Arena over the last two seasons, the big (6-4, 236 lbs.) checking forward has four goals, including his first two-goal game as a pro. Now in his third full season in Peoria, Peluso, 23, was a sixth-round pick (160th overall) of the St. Louis Blues in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. 2 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


ROCHESTER (Dec. 19) The Americans are trying to find more ice time for defenseman Nick Crawford (#20), a regular in the team’s lineup the past two seasons. A sixth-round draft pick (164th overall) of the Buffalo Sabres in 2007, Crawford is known as a slick, puck-moving defenseman. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound Crawford led all Ontario Hockey League blueliners in scoring during his final junior season in 2009-10.

ABBOTSFORD (Dec. 21) The Heat see big things ahead for lanky Chris Breen (#6), whose 6-foot-6 frame towers over the opposition. Breen, 23, skates well for a defenseman of his size, and his hard, accurate shot is a bonus on the power play. Breen played junior hockey in Saginaw before the Calgary Flames signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2010.

CHICAGO (Dec. 22) The Wolves are encouraged by the development of Kevin Connauton  (#6), a 6-foot-2, 198-pound defenseman out of Edmonton, Alberta. Connauton, 22, was the first CCHA player chosen (third round, 83rd overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft after playing one season at Western Michigan University. Along with former Griffin Darren Haydar, he represented Chicago at the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic.

TORONTO (Dec. 28, Dec. 29) The Marlies continue to count on Korbinian Holzer (#5) to solidify their defense. Now in his third year in Toronto, the Munich-born Holzer, 24, was a member of the German national team in the 2010 Winter Olympics. A fourth-round pick (111th overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Holzer made his NHL debut on Nov. 6, 2010.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 4, Jan. 23) The Barons are hoping to develop the talents of young center Anton Lander (#16), who appeared in 56 NHL games last season with the Edmonton Oilers. A second-round pick (40th overall) of the Oilers in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Lander, 21, played four seasons in the Swedish Elite League before coming to North America. He was the captain of the Swedish team at the 2011 World Junior Championship. Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 3


HUNTINGTON CELEBRATES

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


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

Day after day. Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill is doing his best to get his players to understand that practicing a strong daily work ethic will pay dividends over the course of a season. So when the Griffins showed only two victories after their first eight games, Blashill was concerned but not overly worried. “We were playing good hockey to start the year; unfortunately, we were finding ways to lose tight games,” he said. “I still thought a lot of our process was very good. Certainly I wasn’t happy to be losing, but I was pleased with our effort level.” For the Griffins, it meant staying committed to the approach established in practice. “Thanks to the character of individual leaders and the team as a whole, they continued to get better every day,” Blashill said. “By sticking with that daily approach, the little differences that were costing us games became differences that were helping us to win games. “It was a critical step in the right direction in order to get the results we wanted.” The Griffins had failed to hold a two-goal lead in four of their first six games. “We talked about the team that does things right longer is the team that is going to achieve success,” Blashill said. “We played stretches where we played really well, but we couldn’t seem to put it together for the full 60 minutes. “By establishing strong habits daily in practice, we will help ensure that we’re going to do it right for longer periods of time each game. With the teams as tight as they are in this league, there is so little room for error. You have to do a great job of doing all the little things right.” Counting four games where a late empty-net goal increased the margin of victory, 15 of the Griffins’ first 17 games were essentially one-goal contests. Only two games – both 4-1 victories – were decided by wider margins.

The tightness of the contests puts an emphasis on goaltending, which Blashill saw as one of his team’s strengths during its recent eight-game winning streak, the fourth longest in franchise history. “The league seems to be extremely close and if you don’t get great goaltending, it’s hard to win,” he said. “Every game has been real tight and our goalies have made big saves at big moments.” Blashill feels the character of the 2012-13 Griffins squad is one of its strengths. “From the very beginning, the leadership from our captains has been outstanding. Jeff Hoggan, along with Nathan Paetsch, Brennan Evans, Joakim Andersson and Brian Lashoff, have done a great job, but it goes even beyond them. This is an easy group to lead in the sense that they all are committed to getting better every day.” It hasn’t hurt that the Griffins have displayed considerable offensive firepower. There was no better evidence than the Nov. 10 game in Peoria, when the Griffins erased a 3-1 deficit late in the second period for a 5-3 triumph. “There’s no question we’ve been able to score lots of goals, starting with (Tomas) Tatar, (Gustav) Nyquist and Andersson – that’s an outstanding line almost every night. But we’ve had lots of different guys contributing in different ways,” Blashill said, before rattling off the names of Francis Pare, Brendan Smith, Chad Billins, Landon Ferraro, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco, among others. While there are still areas where Blashill wants to see more improvement, from better defensive play to stronger penalty killing, he was pleased overall with the team’s first two months. “From the beginning of the year, we’re better than we were, and hopefully we can continue to improve,” he said. Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 5


COMING ATTRACTIONS WINTER WARMERS

The NHL impasse between the owners and players may have canceled the highly anticipated outdoor games (see the box on this page), but that won’t stop the Griffins from offering a couple of giveaways for fans to warm themselves during the winter months. Get ready to get your knit caps, scarfs and capes. Capes? That’s right, the first 1,500 fans on Sunday, Dec. 9 will receive a Griffins’ superhero cape, in conjunction with the organization’s Salute to Heroes Night. Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, a superhero of sorts to classic rock geeks, famously wore capes in the 1970s, but it was comic book characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman who popularized the fashion. Whether the cape provided cover, magical powers or just looked good flowing in the wind on the two-dimensional comic book page, many superheroes would not be caught dead without the glorious garment that has been favored by everyone from popes to knights of the Middle Ages to bullfighters. Hockey players, heroic figures in their own right, are precluded from wearing capes, of course, although they would look cool flying down the ice. So superhero capes may not be practical for players, but they’re perfect for the young at heart who can cheer on the firefighters, police and paramedics who’ll be honored throughout the evening. The garment giveaways continue on Saturday, Dec. 22, when the first 2,500 fans will receive a Griffins Knit Hat, courtesy of Centennial Securities. On Saturday, Jan. 12, the first 2,500 fans will receive a Griffins Scarf, courtesy of Fox Honda. 6 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

Jan. 12 is also the date of Mascot Mania, sponsored by MetroPCS, when various local mascots will roam the concourse and interact with fans while celebrating Griff ’s 17th birthday. New Year’s Eve Celebration In a holiday tradition that has been held every season in the organization’s history except for the year 1999, the Griffins will ring in the arrival of a new calendar with their annual New Year’s Eve Celebration. Sponsored by Fox Honda, the New Year’s Eve game invites fans to enjoy some great hockey and West Michigan’s largest post-game indoor fireworks show, all well before the stroke of midnight. The game features a special 6 p.m. faceoff. Fans are also encouraged to bring their skates to the rink and take to the ice after the contest for the J&H Family Stores Post-Game Open Skate.

SCHEDULE ALERT!

  With the cancellation of both the 2013 NHL Winter Classic and the 2012 Hockeytown Winter Festival due to the absence of a collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA, the Griffins’ outdoor game against the Toronto Marlies scheduled to be played on Sunday, Dec. 30 at Comerica Park in Detroit has a new date and venue. The game will now take place on Saturday, Dec. 29 at Van Andel Arena at 7 p.m.   In addition, please note that the Griffins’ second annual Purple Community promotion has been moved from the game on Sunday, Feb. 24 to Friday, March 8. The event raises awareness and crucial funds for the Van Andel Institute’s cancer research efforts.


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


Our People, One Purpose‌

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First-Ever Outdoor Game at Comerica Park

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

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TO PURCHASE TICKETS OR FOR MORE INFO, VISIT GRIFFINSHOCKEY.COM OR CALL 1.800.2.HOCKEY Grand Gra G r nd ra nd Rapids Rap Rap apid id ids dss GRI GR G GRIFFINS RIFFINS RI FFI FF F FIINS F NS 9


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

Dan DeVos President & CEO Grand Rapids Griffins

10 Grand Rapids GRI GRIFFI GRIFFINS FFINS FFI NS


DAVID A. ANDREWS

PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE

American Hockey League

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12 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


PLAYERS

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

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Ben Bishop 2012 AHL All-Star Game MVP

@TheAHL

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 13


2012-13 AHL DIRECTORY

EASTERN CONFERENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2012-13 AHL DIRECTORY ST. JOHN’S ICECAPS

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2012-13 AHL DIRECTORY MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS

TEXAS STARS

NHL AFFILIATION: Nashville Predators HOME ICE: BMO Harris Bradley Center (17,845) GENERAL MANAGER: Paul Fenton HEAD COACH: Dean Evason ENTERED AHL: 2001-02 CALDER CUPS: One (2004) SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 10 of 11 2011-12 RECORD: 40-29-2-5, 87 pts. WEBSITE: www.milwaukeeadmirals.com

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

OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS NHL AFFILIATION: Edmonton Oilers HOME ICE: Cox Convention Center (7,500) GENERAL MANAGER: Bill Scott HEAD COACH: Todd Nelson ENTERED AHL: 2010-11 CALDER CUPS: None SEASONS IN PLAYOFFS: 2 of 2 2011-12 RECORD: 45-22-4-5, 99 pts. WEBSITE: www.okcbarons.com

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

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

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

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

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

2012-13 PLAYOFF FORMAT Eight ht teams ms in eachh conference will qualify for the 20133 Calder Cup Playoffs: The three h di division i i winners i will ill bbe seeded dd first through third in order of points, and the next five teams in order of points will be seeded fourth through eighth. The conference quarterfinals will be best-of-five series; the conference semifinals, conference finals and Calder Cup Finals will be best-of-seven series. Teams will be re-ordered after the first round so that the highest-remaining seed plays the lowest-remaining seed.


Competition. SM

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

comerica.com Member FDIC. Equal Opportunity Lender.

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 17


18 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


DETROIT

RED WINGS Joakim Andersson

Gustav Nyquist

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

ARENA Joe Louis Arena Seating Capacity: 20,066

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

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

Riley Sheahan

MANAGEMENT Brendan Smith

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

COACHING STAFF Mike Babcock, Head Coach Tom Renney, Associate Coach Bill Peters, Assistant Coach Keith McKittrick, Assistant Coach — Video Jim Bedard, Goaltending Coach Chris Osgood, Goaltending Development Coach Peter Renzetti, Strength and Conditioning Coach

Photos: Getty Images

GRIFFINS WHO HAVE EARNED THEIR WINGS* Justin Abdelkader Abdelkader, 2008-09 Joakim Andersson, 2011-12 Sean Avery, 2002-03 Ryan Barnes, 2003-04 Patrick Boileau, 2002-03 Darryl Bootland, 2003-04 Fabian Brunnstrom, 2011-12 Ty Conklin, 2011-12 Chris Conner, 2011-12 Aaron Downey, 2008-09 Matt Ellis, 2006-07 Cory Emmerton, 2010-11 Jonathan Ericsson, 2007-08 Valtteri Filppula, 2005-06 Mark Hartigan, 2007-08 Darren Helm, 2007-08 Jimmy Howard, 2005-06 Jiri Hudler, 2003-04 Matt Hussey, 2006-07 Doug Janik, 2009-10 Jakub Kindl, 2009-10 Tomas Kopecky, 2005-06 Niklas Kronwall, 2003-04 Marc Lamothe, 2003-04 Josh Langfeld, 2006-07 Brett Lebda, 2005-06 Ville Leino, 2008-09 Joey MacDonald, 2006-07 Donald MacLean, 2005-06 Darren McCarty, 2007-08 Tom McCollum, 2010-11 Derek Meech, 2006-07 Kevin Miller, 2003-04 Mark Mowers, 2003-04 Jan Mursak, 2010-11 Anders Myrvold, 2003-04 Kris Newbury, 2009-10 Gustav Nyquist, 2011-12 Kyle Quincey, 2005-06 Mattias Ritola, 2007-08 Jamie Rivers, 2003-04 Nathan Robinson, 2003-04 Stacy Roest, 2002-03 Riley Sheahan, 2011-12 Brendan Smith, 2011-12 Garrett Stafford, 2007-08 Tomas Tatar, 2010-11 Jason Williams, 2002-03 * not including conditioning stints for Curtis Joseph (2003-04), Chris Osgood (2005-06), Manny Legace (2005-06), Chris Chelios (200809) and Andreas Lilja (2009-10).

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 19


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Story and photos by Mark Newman

Undrafted due to his size, former Ferris State Bulldog Chad Billins wants to prove that the Griffins made a wise choice when they signed the stray defenseman to a one-year contract. 

continued on next page Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 21


The English Bulldog, a breed symbolic of strength, tenacity, stubborn determination and limitless loyalty, is the official mascot of no less than 39 American universities. For last year’s Ferris State University hockey team, there could have been no better mascot. Griffins rookie Chad Billins was a member of the 2011-12 squad that surprised the collegiate hockey world by making it all the way to the championship game of the Frozen Four, hockey’s answer to basketball’s Final Four. Nobody expected the Bulldogs to go that far. In fact, many of the Ferris State players themselves might not have believed it at the beginning of the season. “But as the season progressed, I felt like we had a very good team, and I mean TEAM,” said Billins, who was a co-captain and the school’s top scoring defenseman. “People often take the word ‘team’ lightly, but we really were a team. We had great role players, guys who did their job and were determined to play for each other. We were very close and we’d do anything for each other. “It made it that much more special when we went as far as we did.” For Billins, Ferris State was the perfect place to pursue a future in hockey. A product of the thumb area of Michigan, Billins grew up in Marysville, a small town south of Port Huron. His youth was spent playing in the Port Huron Minor Hockey Association. His parents, Jason and Teri, took their support of their three boys’ interest in hockey to an unusual level. “At one point all three boys were playing travel hockey, our dad was playing in a men’s league and our mom even played,” Billins recalled. “The family support has been unbelievable. It seems like it was just yesterday when they were taking us to the rink and to tournaments. Those are great memories.” Billins’ father coached the boys when they were younger but bowed out as his sons got older. “But he’s still like a coach to me,” Billins said. “He’s still there to talk hockey, even today.” Eventually Billins left home to play hockey at a higher level. As a teenager, he played in Alpena, where he roomed with Evan West, another defenseman from the Port Huron area. 22 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

Billins was the CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year last season, when he tied Michigan State’s Torey Krug for the league lead among defensemen with 22 assists.

“I think it was probably hardest on my mom, seeing me leave at the relatively young age of 17,” he said. “There was an adjustment period, but it helped that I had a roommate and close friend there. I was ready to take the necessary steps to advance my hockey career.” His next move was to go to Iowa, where he played for the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL. “When I told people I was playing hockey in Iowa, they were surprised. It was like, ‘Whoa, what are you doing out there?’ But it was the USHL, which was another step up. I thought it was necessary to play at that level to try to make the jump to college.” Billins made his first visit to Ferris State – located in Big Rapids, about an hour’s drive north of Grand Rapids – while playing in Alpena. “Right away, I loved the campus, the coaching staff and the whole university atmosphere there,” he said. “It just felt like a great fit.”


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He appreciated the fact that hockey is the only Division I sport at Ferris, which meant that it was given No. 1 status at the school. “My years at Ferris flew by,” Billins said. “It was a great experience because the coaching staff made it fun to come to the rink, and we had a pretty tight group. When you spend four years with the same guys, you end up making some of your best friendships.” His closest friend was Bulldogs netminder Taylor Nelson, with whom he roomed all four years at Ferris. Although goalies are typically considered a unique breed, Billins said his roomie was pretty normal. Billins and Nelson anchored Ferris State’s defense, which earned a reputation for doing whatever it took to stop shots from going into the net. “I think we had almost 450 blocked shots as a team,” he said. The Bulldogs began the year picked to finish ninth in the CCHA. By mid-February, the team had reached No. 1 in all three major Division I hockey polls. Ferris State defied the odds to reach the Frozen Four championship game. While its opponent in the Frozen Four final, Boston College, had nine NHL draft picks on its roster, Ferris State had none. Its anonymity was underscored by the fact that all game notes included Michigan in parentheses behind the school’s name, since most people had no idea where the school was even located. “Last year’s success was not only exciting, but a pretty surreal experience,” Billins said. “It was great for the university and for all of the alumni who have helped build the program over the years. It felt very special to be honoring all of those players who came before us. We felt like we put Ferris on the map.” Losing to Boston College by a 4-1 margin was hard to swallow, but Billins said the game was much closer than the score suggests. “We had our chances, and it honestly could have gone either way,” he said. “Most of the game, we were right there with them.” “It was disappointing at the time, but what an experience it was,” he said. “It’s something that none of us will ever forget.” Last March, Billins was tabbed as the CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year, a tribute which he 24 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

modestly suggests could have gone to some of his teammates. Nevertheless, the marketing major with the 3.82 GPA was honored to receive the award. “It was awesome to be able to represent the university in that capacity,” he said. Billins signed an amateur tryout contract with the Griffins last spring but never saw any action. He was excited when the team offered him a one-year pro contract this past summer. “Being from Michigan, I grew up watching the Red Wings, so I was excited to sign with the organization,” he said. “It added a lot of extra excitement to my workouts because I knew it was going to take a lot of hard work to earn a spot up here with the Griffins.” Billins got off to a great start, recording an AHL-leading 14 assists in his first 14 games, more than he recorded in any of his first three seasons at Ferris State. “Our power play is clicking and guys are starting to jell, so the points are just happening,” he said. Although he professes not to think about it, he admits that being bypassed in the NHL Entry Draft is something that provides a little extra motivation. “It’s not something you think about every day, but it is something that some players have to overcome,” Billins said. “You know you have to work that much harder to try to make an impression.” Billins points to Brian Rafalski, an undersized defenseman who won two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils and another with the Red Wings, as the type of player he would love to emulate. He thinks about the advice of his parents: “Just keep your mind on what you want to accomplish. If you work hard and stay focused, you’ll have that advantage when you get your opportunity.” Billins intends to make the most of his chance. “I’m just trying to take it one day at a time,” he said. “This is a dream come true. To be a hockey player and be paid to come to the rink every day – honestly it couldn’t get any better than that.”


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MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

2012-13 GRIFFINS PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE Dec. 9: Salute to Heroes/Superhero Cape Giveaway Dec. 22: Griffins Knit Hat Giveaway presented by Centennial Securities Dec. 31: 16th Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration presented by Fox Honda/Post-Game Fireworks/ Jersey Auction Jan. 12: Griffins Scarf Giveaway presented by MetroPCS/Mascot Mania Jan. 12-13: 11th Annual Great Skate Winterfest at Rosa Parks Circle Jan. 26: Griffins Gnome Giveaway presented by Comerica Bank/Jersey Auction Feb. 2: Gustav Nyquist Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Lake Michigan Credit Union Feb. 4: Griffins Booster Club Silent Auction Feb. 12: 8th Annual Griffins/Sled Wings Sled Hockey Game at Griff ’s IceHouse

Feb. 17: Faith & Family Night/Appearance by The Conquerors Feb. 19: 2nd Annual Reds, Whites & Brews at the Goei Center, to benefit Easter Seals Michigan Feb. 23: Francis Pare Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Harold Zeigler Chrysler-Dodge-JeepFiat/Appearance by The Fur Circus March 8: 2nd Annual Purple Community Game presented by the Van Andel Institute/Jersey Auction March 9: Star Wars Night presented by Consumers Energy March 22: ‘90s Night presented by J&H Family Stores/ Jersey Auction

DEC 31

DEC 22

DEC 31

S E A S O N - L O N G Dollar Beers and Hot Dogs: Every Friday, enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last. Get in the D-ZONE: Every Friday night is a Griffins WGRD D-Zone night. Avoid the concession lines and have your $1 beers and $1 hot dogs served to you in your seats. Call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit griffinshockey.com/ dzone to get your tickets today! The D-Zone seven-game pack includes games on Dec. 14, Jan. 4, Feb. 15, March 22 and April 19, and the 14-pack includes all Friday games with the exception of Dec. 28. A limited number of single-game four-ticket packages are also available. College Nights: Every Friday, college students can show their ID to purchase an upper bowl ticket for $13 (or $11 in advance at The Zone) and stop by the McFadden’s concourse table to receive a free pass to the post-game party at McFadden’s. Free Ride Friday on The Rapid: Ride the Rapid to and from any Friday game and enjoy a complimentary fare by showing your ticket to that night’s game. Visit ridetherapid.org for schedule information, routes and maps. Wednesday is Hockey Night: For every Wednesday home game from December through March, show your Griffins ticket at 17 Arena District restaurants and bars 26 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

April 13: Fan Vote Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Michigan Office Solutions April 15: Griffins Booster Club Awards Banquet April 19: Season Finale presented by Huntington Bank/Appearance by Super Fan Cameron Hughes/ Jersey Auction

JAN 12

JAN 12-13

JAN 26

P R O M O T I O N S

-- including Peppino’s Sports Grille, home of the Griffins’ Wednesday post-game parties with the players -- to enjoy Happy Hour specials before the game and Hockey Night specials afterward. Visit griffinshockey.com/ hockeynight for a list of participating establishments. Amway Winning Wednesdays: Every time the Griffins win at home on Wednesday, each fan in attendance will receive a free ticket to the next Wednesday game. Additionally, the first 300 fans to visit the Amway table in Section A will receive a gift. Fans can also enjoy a buyone, get-one-free deal on a 16 oz. Pepsi all night long at any concession stand that sells fountain drinks. Sunday is Fun Day!: Every Sunday, enjoy $1 Pepsi drinks and $1 ice cream from 3-5 p.m. and a J&H Family Stores post-game open skate. Military Nights: Every home game this season, current members of our military can purchase up to four upper bowl tickets for $13 each (or $11 in advance at The Zone) with a valid military ID. The offer also extends to veterans who present a VA ID or discharge papers. 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. Fan 4 Packs: For select games, receive four tickets and $12 in concession cash for a great low price. Valid for games on Dec. 31; Jan. 12; Feb. 2; March 9; and April 13. Visit griffinshockey.com/f4p or call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2. Reading Goals: Children with Griff ’s Reading Goals bookmarks who have completed the required three hours of reading can redeem their bookmark for two free upper level tickets to any of the following games: First Half - Dec. 9, 19 and 22; Second Half - Feb. 6, 17 and 24; March 13; and April 10. J&H Family Stores Post-Game Open Skates: Dec. 22 and 31; Jan. 26; Feb. 23; March 9; and April 13 and 19. Huntington Bank Post-Game Autograph Sessions: Dec. 9 and 22; Jan. 12; Feb. 2 and 24; and April 13. MOS Corner Office: Presented by Michigan Office Solutions, this section, located on the terrace level above section 118, provides the best seats in the house for groups of up to 30 people, with La-Z-Boy chairs and an array of unprecedented amenities. Call (616) 774-4585. All promotions and dates subject to change. For more information, visit griffinshockey.com.


Story and photos by Mark Newman

THE MAN FROM... ...

When Jeff Hoggan left Hope, British Columbia, in 1998 to play college hockey for Nebraska-Omaha, he never abandoned hope. He felt confident that he would eventually find his way to the NHL. “I’m a small-town kid, and I believe that you never forget where you come from, and I’m proud to say that I come from Hope,” said Hoggan, who would eventually play in the 28 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

NHL for the St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins and Phoenix Coyotes. All roads, it seems, pass through Hope, which is 90-some miles east of Vancouver. The TransCanada Highway (Highway 1) travels through Hope, which also serves as the intersection of the Coquihalla Highway, the Crowsnest Highway and Highway 7. It is best known as the location of the Sylvester Stallone action movie, Rambo: First Blood, the


Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan is a firm believer in the power of positive thinking.

HOPE

first of more than a dozen Hollywood films to use the town’s scenic beauty to its advantage. “When I was growing up, it was a logging community where everybody’s dad or someone in the family had ties either to the log yard or lumber mill. Now it’s a stop for gas and fast food,” said Hoggan, who proposed to his wife, Chevonne, on Mount Hope. In a sense, Omaha was a perfect destination for Hoggan. Not only did his spouse hail from

Harlan, Iowa, less than an hour away, but the Midwestern work ethic was well-suited to his personal drive. Hoggan started his pro career with the Houston Aeros, where his skills were shaped by coach Todd McLellan, who had his own NHL aspirations (working later as an assistant with the Red Wings and, eventually, as the head coach of the San Jose Sharks). Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 29


“In college, you can get away with running around and making mistakes and then recovering. I learned right away that if you’re out of position in the AHL, you’re going to be exposed,” Hoggan said. “Todd was a key to teaching me how to be a pro. Much of it was positional teaching. I remember him saying ‘Less is more,’ which was an important lesson because I was a high energy guy.” The Aeros won the Calder Cup at the end of Hoggan’s first full professional season in 2003, advancing to the finals after besting the regular season Western Conference champion Griffins in seven games. Hoggan remembers his time in Houston as an “eye-opening” experience. “When you sign a pro contract, you think you’ll be in the NHL before you know it,” he said. “You quickly realize that it’s not that easy. ‘Wow, there are a lot of good players in the AHL.’ There was a lot more for me to learn.” Most importantly, Hoggan learned that there’s more to the game than scoring goals. A lot more. “Guys worry about points and that’s just not

30 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

it. You can’t go up to the NHL if you’re not solid defensively. You’ve got to be able to do all of the simple things that make you a well-rounded player. “During my career, I’ve seen prospects with all the skill in the world who didn’t grasp that there was more to the game, and so their careers ended prematurely or they went to Europe before they should have. It’s a shame, really.” Now in his 11th pro season, Hoggan is willing to tell anyone who will listen that it takes patience and practice – more than a little of both, in fact. “You’ve got to stay resilient and you’ve got to be persistent,” he said. “You can’t lose sight of your goal, even though you’re not going there immediately. You can’t get frustrated.” For someone from Hope, there’s nothing worse than a pessimistic attitude. “I don’t like negative energy,” he said. “You see guys get frustrated and they bring a negative attitude that coaches and organizations don’t want. You want to snuff that out, weed out the weak. You either get on board or get out of the way.”


OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! The 5/3 Bank Vault Restaurant and Bar is located next to the main entrance of the Van Andel Arena. Open during events and Griffins games, our bar offers

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Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 31


Hoggan was named the captain of the Griffins this season after spending the last two years playing in Germany.

Hoggan’s success in Houston caught the attention of the St. Louis Blues, who rewarded his further development in Worcester with 52 NHL games during the 2005-06 season. His first NHL game was against the Red Wings in Joe Louis Arena. “I’m not a sensitive guy, but I remember sitting there, feeling this rush of emotion. It was like, ‘Wow, you did it!’ I think I was walking on air, but you have to shake that feeling in a hurry.” Following St. Louis, Hoggan spent a two years (2006-08) in the Boston Bruins organization, logging 47 more games in the NHL. Hoggan later signed with the Phoenix Coyotes, who wanted him to assume a leadership role with their AHL affiliate in San Antonio. Hoggan served as the captain of the AHL’s Rampage under former Griffins head coach Greg Ireland. It was another learning experience. “We had good players, but we just couldn’t find a winning formula,” he said. “It was my first time being captain, and because we were struggling I felt like I always had to say something. I think I was trying too hard. I learned you just have to be yourself.”

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32 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


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With Phoenix, Hoggan saw action in his 100th NHL game, which coincidentally came in Joe Louis Arena. Age, however, was beginning to creep up on him. “Playing in Europe was something I wanted to try, so I went to Germany for two seasons,” said Hoggan, who played in Wolfsburg and Hannover. “It was interesting, but I ultimately wanted to see if I could come back and try to play a few more games here.” NHL pensions, which are determined by the length of a player’s career, require at least 160 NHL games for eligibility, so Hoggan was still short in that department. “It was a consideration, but I don’t play for money. I play for the love of the game,” he said. “I wanted to take another crack and see where I was at.” He had hoped for an invitation to an NHL training camp this past fall, but with the NHL lockout he settled on a tryout in Grand Rapids. There were no guarantees, only a promise from Griffins coach Jeff Blashill that he would get a fair look. By the end of training camp, the Griffins had not only found another veteran, but also

an experienced player worthy of wearing the captain’s letter on his jersey. “I got here and things just worked out,” Hoggan said. “It’s an opportunity to be one of the older guys and I’m really embracing it. I told the guys that my best days might be behind me, but I still take pride in winning and playing with guys who are going to the next level.” Coming to Grand Rapids has helped him feel rejuvenated. “There are not many guys playing in the AHL with birthdates in the 1970s anymore,” said Hoggan, who will turn 35 in February. “But I don’t feel old. I’ve taken care of my body, and while I’m not playing Call of Duty or Xbox, I can still relate to the younger guys.” And while it’s a longshot, Hoggan still holds out hope for one more chance at the NHL. “Part of me knows my best days y are in the past, but I haven’t given up hope,” he said. “I don’t want to look back with any regrets. At the end of the day, I want to feel like I gave it my all.”

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Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 35


STAND-UP

GUY Story and photos by Mark Newman

If there’s funny business going on, you can usually count on Triston Grant being nearby. 36 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


There aren’t many hockey heavyweights who would be brave enough to list a Muppet as one of their nicknames on the team questionnaire, but then Triston Grant is hardly your typical tough customer. But Fozzie Bear? Really? “Last year in Oklahoma City I took a slapshot right in the nose, and it swelled up so that it looked like a button nose,” Grant said. “One of the Barons’ assistant coaches, Gerry Fleming, said I looked like Fozzie Bear. It sounded funny and it just kind of stuck the rest of the year. “I’ve been called worse things.” The nickname fits in more ways than one. Not only does Grant’s smiling, stubbled face bear a passing resemblance to his fuzzy counterpart, but his sense of humor also matches the comic character’s love of jokes and running gags. Grant is the unofficial team cut-up, the guy who keeps his teammates on an even keel with his goofy gags, one-liners and practical jokes. “A lot of guys who are in my position tend to be that way because you don’t want to be so intimidating that it isn’t fun,” Grant said. “For me, it just wouldn’t work if I was always a tough guy.” Grant made an impression on his new Grand Rapids teammates during the Griffins’ first road trip this season when he jumped up out of his seat on the team bus as it was pulling out of Toronto. “Whoa! Stop the bus!” he shouted. After the bus driver pulled to the curb, Grant popped the question. “Did we remember to pack the two points?” He credits a former Griffin for the instilling the idea. “Our captain last year, Bryan Helmer, did it a couple of times and the first time I heard it, I thought it was pretty funny, so I can’t take full credit for it.” Now in his eighth professional season, Grant has earned a reputation as a solid hockey player who won’t put up with any funny business on the ice. It’s been his calling card ever since his junior days in Lethbridge and Vancouver in the Western Hockey League.

“I wanted to prove that I can score or be sound defensively, in order to show that I can be a player who can be depended on.” In fact, he can hardly remember a time when he wasn’t playing the role of enforcer. “My parents always told me that violence isn’t the right answer, but I always stuck up for my friends and other kids,” said Grant, the son of a truck driver, who credits his blue collar background for instilling a good moral code. “Playing hockey, I’ve always been willing to stand up for myself and my teammates, and it’s still a good feeling to know that my teammates know I’m always going to be there for them.” Willing to drop the gloves and go toe-totoe whenever called upon, Grant eventually earned the respect of opponents who saw him as a tough, in-your-face agitator who wasn’t going to back down from a challenge. “I’d rather score 50 goals than get into 20 fights, but everybody on the team has a job and this one’s mine,” he explains. “It’s what hockey has chosen me to do, but I’ve tried to work really hard on my other skills.”   Grant was interested in showing that he could do more than pile up 200 penalty minutes every season. Starting in the Philadelphia Flyers organization, he managed to reach double digits in goals and assists by his third pro season. “I didn’t want to be known as a onedimensional player,” Grant said. “I wanted to prove that I can score or be sound defensively, in order to show that I can be a player who can be depended on.” Grant saw action in eight NHL games with the Flyers before a change of scenery took him to Milwaukee, where he played two seasons in the Nashville Predators organization. He played three NHL games with the Predators. The past two seasons saw Grant toiling in Rochester (2010-11) and Oklahoma City (2011-12). At every stop, his role has been largely the same. Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 37


“Finishing hits and being physical is the foundation of my game, and I have no problem with it,” Grant said. “It’s not the easiest way to earn a living, but when it’s all said and done, I will have no shame in what I did.” Indeed, Grant wants to make sure that people know he’s a tough guy with a soft side – and it’s okay if some people wonder whether there might be a loose screw or two rattling around his noggin. Last season he earned a little notoriety in Oklahoma City with his penchant for naming his sticks. It was an odd tradition borne out of his habit of using ridiculous names when placing orders at Starbucks or Panera Bread with his girlfriend. The birth of Cornelius, Jethro, Otto and others led the Barons to hold a fan contest to name his next stick. The winning entry, Sherman, earned a bit of infamy when it was used to crosscheck former NHL heavyweight (and former Griffin) Wade Brookbank. The misdeed prompted a game misconduct for Sherman and Grant, and led to a five-minute power play. “Sherman’s got a bit of a temper, I guess,” Grant said at the time. “He doesn’t use his head very well.” Grant also broke out his “magic” rocks last year. He had collected five small stones near his Manitoba home several years ago. Rubbing the rocks on his sticks during his final year of junior hockey, he scored 20 goals, doubling his output in any previous season. When Grant turned pro, he put the rocks into retirement. It was only after his parents were preparing to move that he rescued the magic rocks from heading to the landfill. Grant decided to bring the rocks with him to Oklahoma City, where they worked their magic, not only for himself but also for teammates like Antti Tyrvainen and exGriffin Ryan Keller. “We used them a lot in Oklahoma last year, especially Ryan Keller. Every time I banged the rocks against his stick, it seemed like he scored. It was kind of trippy. I’m not really a superstitious guy, but it was funny because it seemed like they really worked.” 38 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

Grant tallied a career-high 236 penalty minutes in 2009-10 with the Milwaukee Admirals.

One can never predict what Grant will do next, or what someone might do back. Grant enjoys a good practical joke, but those who try to pull one over on Grant do so at their own peril. When Grant recently discovered that someone had sewn his jean pockets shut, he began plotting his next move. “I know who did it and I’m pretty sure they know I know,” Grant said. “For now, I’m just waiting in the weeds. I’m going to get him and get him good, too.”


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2012-13

ROSTER

5

18

14

22

ADAM ALMQUIST

JOAKIM ANDERSSON

LOUIS-MARC AUBRY

CHAD BILLINS

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

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

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

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

15

8

44

29

MITCH CALLAHAN

WILLIE COETZEE

BRENNAN EVANS

LANDON FERRARO

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

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

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

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

20

33

23

10

GLEASON FOURNIER

LUKE GLENDENING

TRISTON GRANT

JEFF HOGGAN

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

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

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

Forward 6-1, 190 lbs. Born: 2/1/78 Hope, B.C.

40 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


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Photo by Mark Newman


Photo by Mark Newman


XLIV Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


28

32

30

34

TOMAS JURCO

BRIAN LASHOFF

TOM McCOLLUM

PETR MRAZEK

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

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

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

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

11

17

13

4

ANDREJ NESTRASIL

MAX NICASTRO

GUSTAV NYQUIST

NATHAN PAETSCH

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

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

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

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

9

21

1

12

FRANCIS PARE

TREVOR PARKES

JORDAN PEARCE

BRENT RAEDEKE

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

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

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

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

19

7

27

RILEY SHEAHAN

BRENDAN SMITH

TOMAS TATAR

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

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

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


42 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


THE BEST OF THE BEST Thanks in part to the opportunities provided by the Griffins Youth Foundation, Shane Mooney feels ready to serve his country as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Playing hockey in the Griffins h and dd d “His work ethic dedication Youth Foundation program may to what he did was tremendous,” not seem like an obvious path Shane said. to the Marines, but for Shane Shane broke his tibia and fibia Mooney, it was one opportunity on Labor Day 2005 while riding for which he will be forever his bike. He had a steel plate put grateful. into his leg on his 13th birthday. Shane was just four years old When he returned to school, it when he attended the Griffins’ was in a wheelchair. Within a inaugural game in October few months, he was able to use 1996. Six years later, he received his crutches. hockey skates for Christmas and His parents were surprised enrolled in the Learn to Skate but not shocked when, a year program at Griff ’s IceHouse. later, Shane began expressing a Being season ticket holders, desire to play hockey. the Mooneys were big Griffins “Shane wanted to play fans. His parents, Pat and Kathy, Mooney is joining the Marines hockey, but we couldn’t afford both had jobs, but they felt the after nine seasons as a Griffins it,” his mom recalled. “(Griffins cost of hockey put the sport out broadcaster) Bob Kaser had locker room attendant. of reach for their son to play. us talk to (then-foundation “We went to all of the Griffins games, and president) Lou Rabaut about the Griffins Youth Shane loved sitting in the seats by the bench,” she Foundation.” said. “He always had his face pressed up against Shane ended up playing two years in the the glass.” program, his team winning the 79ers trophy In early 2004, they attended the Griffins during his second year. Later, as a high school Booster Club silent auction and won a certificate senior, Shane played for the Northviewfor Shane to help Griffins equipment manager Comstock Park hockey team. Brad Thompson for one game. Shane worked the Griffins’ home game on March 13, 2004, an experience that helped convince Thompson to offer Shane a position as a locker room attendant for the following season. “He had a paper route, so he knew what it was like to work hard and get paid,” Kathy said. “Now he was able to learn what it was like to work hard and not get paid.” Shane loved it. “Being able to see firsthand the Mooney spent two years in the Griffins Youth leadership and teamwork made a big impression,” Foundation hockey program. he said. “I got to see the work ethic of different guys and how they went about their jobs. I saw “The Griffins Youth Foundation provides that players can lead without having a letter on kids like Shane with not only the chance to play their jerseys.” hockey, but also to learn about sportsmanship His favorite player was Matt Ellis, who was and teamwork,” Kathy Mooney said. highly regarded for his hard work and who Shane continued volunteering as a locker became the youngest captain in Griffins history. room attendant, eventually moving to the visitors’ Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 43


side. He loved working behind the scenes, helping teams from the moment they arrived until they left Van Andel Arena. But he wanted to do more. In April 2012, after considerable research, Shane decided to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. He will report to Camp Pendleton in San Diego in January 2013. “It felt like something I had to do,” he said. “I’m going to serve my country and serve those who served for me. As much as I love what I do and being around the team, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.” His mom sees the Marines as a logical progession. “Shane enjoys being a part of a team,” she said. “Now he has joined one of the best.” Thompson said the Marines, in return, are getting one of the best. “Shane’s a class act,” Thompson said. “He’s a good kid you can respect and trust. I had to squeeze him to get him to talk the first couple of years, so it’s cool to see him develop into a confident, outgoing kid who cares about everybody.” Honor, loyalty and commitment are just a few Marine ideals. Thompson said Shane will have no

44 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

problem fitting in. “He’s always been a G.I. Joe type,” Thompson said. “He’s smart and knows how to use his resources. He does what needs to be done without being told everything, and he finds a way to get stuff done.” Needless to say, his Mooney was parents are proud of their just 12 years old only son’s decision. Even so, when he started working with Kathy Mooney said it will be Griffins equipment hard to see him go. “I know manager Brad Thompson. it will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” The Mooneys will be forever grateful for the influence of the Griffins in helping to mold their son. “In a sense, Shane looks to Brad as the brother that he never had,” she said. “We love the Griffins Youth Foundation and we’re so happy to see that the program has grown as it has. It continues to give opportunities that many kids would never have received.”


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JOIN THE

GRIFFINS KIDS CLUB!

Membership for kids 12 and under includes: • • • • • • •

Official Kids Club t-shirt Free ticket to a Griffins game Members-only Kids Club parties Monthly newsletters and contests Only $15 to join Free VIP wristband And more!

46 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

For more information, visit the Griffins Kids Club Booth located at the top of the stairs near section 101, go to griffinshockey.com, email kidsclub@griffinshockey.com or call (616) 774-4585 ext. 3161


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Story by Mark Newman/photos courtesy of Getty Images

The NHL lockout has put the spotlight on the AHL and the terrific talent skating on the ice every night. In Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Eric Idle sang “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” a merry melody that he reprised during the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Staying positive, of course, is not always easy, but one can always hope that there is a silver lining to every dark cloud. On the surface, there certainly is little to celebrate in regards to the NHL lockout, but the situation has given dozens of NHL-caliber players an opportunity to further develop their talents in the AHL.

Alex Burmistrov 48 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

But refugees from the NHL are finding that playing in the AHL this season is no walk in the park. Winnipeg Jets prospect Alex Burmistrov, a former first-round (8th overall) pick of the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, had just two goals in his first 15 games. The 21-year-old Russian scored 13 goals in 76 games with the Jets last season. “It’s not an easy league,” Burmistrov told The Telegram newspaper in St. John’s, Newfoundland, “especially when you’re down here from the NHL. Players are playing hard against you, so it’s not easy for us. “I bet a lot of fans thought I’d come here and score hat tricks every game. (But) it’s not an easy league. It’s tough to score goals...it’s tough.” Young NHL players have seemingly drawn more attention on the ice, making it even more difficult for them to adjust to the AHL game. “That’s why it’s the American league,” Burmistrov said. “Everybody is still learning here, everybody wants to play in the NHL and everybody is still trying to develop here, including myself. It’s a good league to play hockey.” Cory Conacher is back in the league after being named the AHL Rookie of the Year last season, when he was also the winner of the Les Cunningham Award as the league’s most valuable player. He became only the fourth player to win both trophies in the same year. After helping the Norfolk Admirals to a record-setting 28-game win streak on the way to the Calder Cup championship during his first full pro season, Conacher was hoping to start the season with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. “I’m not upset that the NHL is not playing right now,” Conacher told CBC Sports. “I know the lockout has affected different players


in different ways and some guys have had to find other places to play. “For me, I still have to prove myself, I still have to continue to improve and play hard. I can’t get too big-headed. It’s important that I build off of last year day-in and day-out and not get too comfortable.� Indeed, with the influx of NHL talent, the AHL could argue that it is showcasing the best hockey in the world – certainly it ranks with the Swedish Elite League and Russia’s KHL at the moment. Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier are just two examples of many who are making the most of their opportunity. Both are currently in Adirondack instead of skating with the NHL’s Flyers in Philadelphia. “You obviously want to play up there and you keep an eye on (the talks), but your focus has to be here

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– this is our team right now,” Schenn told Philly.com. Added Couturier: “This year, I have the chance to prove myself.” “If the NHL does come back,” Conacher said, “maybe I will get my chance. I’ve got to take advantage of all the opportunities I’m given and go from there.” A look around the league finds at least a player or two on every roster who would likely be in the NHL this season if not for the contractural impasse between NHL owners and players. Gustav Nyquist tops the list in Grand Rapids, where he was leading his team in scoring six weeks into the 2012-13 slate. The skilled Swede is just one of several Griffins who were pegged to see action in Detroit this season. Some AHL teams have benefitted more than others from the NHL lookout. The Oklahoma City Barons, for example, have no


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less than four players who have been on a fast track to NHL stardom: • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 19, the first overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, was a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy last season when he was named to the NHL’s AllRookie Team. He has been scoring at better than a point-per-game clip after tallying 52 points in 62 games with Edmonton last season. • Taylor Hall, 21, the first overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, scored 22 and 27 goals during his first two injury-marred NHL seasons (high ankle sprain, concussion, damaged shoulder). The Oilers’ star forward suffered a Frankenstein-like gash last January after he fell during warmups, collided with a teammate and took a skate to his head, requiring 30 stitches to his skull. • Jordan Eberle, 22, has played in 147 NHL career games, including 78 last season when he tallied 34 goals and 42 assists for Edmonton. In his second season with the Oilers, Eberle was a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy. A first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, he recorded 19 points (6 goals and 13 assists) in the Barons’ first 15 games.

52 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

• Justin Schultz, 22, led the AHL in scoring with 21 points through his first 15 games as a rookie pro. A former teammate of topshelf Red Wings prospect Brendan Smith at the University of Wisconsin, Schultz was originally selected by Anaheim in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft but never signed, eventually becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer when he signed a two-year deal with Edmonton.

Other Edmonton prospects in Oklahoma City include Teemu Hartikainen, 22, who scored five goals in 29 NHL games the past two seasons; Maagnus Paajarvi-Svensson, 21, who registered 15 goals in 80 NHL games as a rookie two years ago; and defenseman Colten Teubert, 22, who appeared in 24 NHL games with the Oilers after coming over from the Los Angeles Kings organization in the Dustin Penner trade.


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Story and photos by Mark Newman

ENHANCER

As the Griffins’ equipment manager, Brad “Dogg” Thompson plays an important role in helping to prepare the players to excel every game. Officially, Brad Thompson is the Griffins’ equipment manager. Unofficially, he is the team mom and chief cheerleader. “I might be a halfway decent equipment guy to keep my job this long,” said Thompson, who is in his 16th season with the Griffins. “But at the end of the day, I play the roles of counselor, cheerleader and motivator, too.” He’s called “Dogg” by the players, a nickname hung on him by former Griffins captain Ed Patterson in reference not only to Thompson’s appreciation of rapper Snoop Dogg, but also to his willingness to work like a dog. “I have no problem with the long nights and all of the travel because it’s part of the job,” Thompson said. “I’m always working for the next day, looking forward to helping the players excel

to the best of their ability.” Thompson knows there is not a lot he can do to improve a player on the ice, but he can help them in other ways, whether it’s providing the the tools and equipment necessary to play the game to the best of their ability, or dispensing advice about life away from the rink. “I say I can’t make you a better hockey player, but I can try to help make you a better person,” he said. “Young players sometimes come in thinking they’re the coolest thing on earth. If they’re cocky, I’ll sit them down and tell them: ‘You’re a small fish in a big pond now and if you’re not careful, the whale is going to eat you.’ If you blow out your knee, then what are you?” Thompson not only provides skates, sticks and Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 57


shoulder pads, but also guidance in terms of how to be humble and how to respect their teammates and fans as well. “I’m constantly evaluating guys, doing whatever I can to help them succeed,” he said. “I’m learning 20 different personalities and adapting to their needs. It’s learning what makes a guy tick and what he needs that ultimately helps me be a better equipment guy.” For Thompson, there could be no better job. “From being a punk when I was growing up to becoming an adult and finding something that I liked that wasn’t offered in school is the perfect job,” said Thompson, who was working part-time at Michigan National Ice Arena before he came to the Griffins at the start of their second season. “My first year I made $9,000 as an assistant working 80 hours a week,” he said. “I worked for next to nothing, but I didn’t do this job for the money. I did it for the love of the game. To get to do this in my hometown makes it even better.” After 16 years with the Griffins, Thompson insists that he has no aspirations of working in the NHL. “I’m happy here. The DeVos and Van Andel families have treated me well over the years and it’s the fulfillment of a childhood dream to be able to work with the Griffins.” Thompson gets to work with the Red Wings organization during the preseason and postseason, which allows him to enjoy the best of both worlds. He earned a Stanley Cup ring in 2008 when he assisted Red Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer during the Stanley Cup playoffs. His biggest thrill? “The high point comes every year when training camp starts and I get to see the guys after the summer,” he said. “I’ve made so many friends over the years that just seeing the guys again is the high point.” 58 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

He has been invited to numerous weddings, whether it’s going to Las Vegas for Jamie Tardif or to Maine for Jimmy Howard. “If you go to the trouble to invite me, I’ll do my best to be there,” he said. Tardif, who now plays for Providence in the AHL, is one of many ex-players with whom Thompson has remained close. “I probably talk to Jamie twice a week. I still talk to Jimmy and Joey MacDonald, too. I play hockey with Matt Ruchty.” He counts former defenseman Travis Richards as one of his favorite Griffins, a veteran who never failed to show his appreciation when Thompson prepared his sticks before a game. “I try to take care of my guys the way I would want to be treated if I was a pro hockey player,” he said. “All I ever want in return is a ‘thanks,’ nothing more.” From the first day that a player comes into the Griffins’ dressing room, Thompson does his best to relate to the guys, not for the sake of striking up a friendship, but to make sure that the player will be able to excel. “If we win or lose, I’m pretty much the same guy,” he said. “But it’s not about me. It’s about helping the guys and figuring out what they might need to help this team win.” His ultimate dream, he contends, is for the Griffins to claim a championship in his hometown. “I don’t care if nobody in the city knows that we won. I’m going to walk around the city like I’m the king,” he said. “People will wonder why is that guy holding that trophy, but if we win, it’s giddyup, it’s my turn to party.” An affirmed teetotaler, Thompson said he might he even try tasting a little bubbly. “I’ve never drank in my whole life, but I might even have a shot of champagne,” he said. “After so many years without a championship, I would imagine it will taste pretty good.”


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Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 63


64 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


GRIFFINS RECORDS (Through November 29, 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 Francis Pare ................... 312 Derek Meech.................. 304 Ryan Oulahen ................ 302 Darryl Bootland ............ 293 Logan Pyett .................... 288 Matt Ellis ........................ 282 Dave Van Drunen ......... 280

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

GOALS Michel Picard ................ 158 Francis Pare ......................88 Jamie Tardif ......................78 Kip Miller ..........................75 Tomas Tatar......................74 Derek King ........................73 Darryl Bootland ...............72 Matt Ellis ...........................69 Jiri Hudler .........................65 Tomas Kopecky................63

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

ASSISTS Michel Picard ................ 222 Travis Richards ............. 182 Kip Miller ....................... 133 Derek King ..................... 130 Francis Pare ................... 119 Jiri Hudler ...................... 114 Tomas Tatar......................91 Glen Metropolit ...............88 Jeff Nelson .........................87 Matt Ellis ...........................84

SINGLE SEASON TOP TEN POINTS Michel Picard................101 .....................1996-97 Jiri Hudler .......................96 .....................2005-06 Jeff Nelson .......................89 .....................1996-97 Donald MacLean ............88 .....................2005-06 Michel Picard..................84 .....................2002-03 Derek King ....................*83 .....................2000-01 Mark Mowers .................81 .....................2002-03 Glen Metropolit..............81 .....................1998-99 Darren Haydar ...............80 .....................2008-09 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 Donald MacLean ..........*56 .....................2005-06 Michel Picard..................46 .....................1996-97 Jiri Hudler .......................36 .....................2005-06 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 Darryl Bootland ...........390 .....................2005-06 Matt Ruchty ..................364 .....................1996-97 Chris Neil ......................354 .....................2000-01 Wade Brookbank .........337 .....................2001-02 Darryl Bootland ...........336 .....................2004-05 Darcy Simon .................327 .....................1996-97 Peter Vandermeer ........310 .....................2004-05 Bruce Ramsay ...............310 .....................1997-98 9. Bruce Ramsay ...............306 .....................1996-97 10. Chris Neil ......................301 .....................1999-00

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

1. 2. 3. 4.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

GRIFFINSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ALL-TIME LEADERS IN GOALTENDING WINS

JOEY MacDONALD (109)

JIMMY HOWARD (90)

MIKE FOUNTAIN (55)

MARC LAMOTHE (54)

DANIEL LARSSON (45)

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 65


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

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

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

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

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

T 11 8 8 -

OTL 4 0 2 0 2 1 6 2 6 3 2 7

SOL 12 13 8 9 3 2 4 5 6 6 4 8 4

PTS 92 89 76 111 113 95 106 96 86 115 85 70 98 75 82 77

GF 244 225 256 254 279 217 240 195 200 323 226 210 255 244 227 245

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

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

GRIFFINS ALL-STARS 1996-97

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 70 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

2012 AHL All-Star Gustav Nyquist

y/AHL

Photo by PhotoGraphics Photograph

2011 AHL All-Star Ilari Filppula

Photo by JustSports Photograph

y/AHL


SEASON LEADERS

(* = Led League)

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

2010 AHL All-Star Patrick Rissmiller

Photo by Sports Action Photograph

y/AHL

2009 AHL All-Star Jakub Kindl

y/AHL

Photo by JustSports Photograph

2009 AHL All-Star Daniel Larsson

Photo by JustSports Photograph

y/AHL

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 71


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IT ALL STAR GRIFFINS IN THE NHL

1 2 3

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

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

76 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

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

25 Dieter Kochan 3/28/00 TB vs. DAL 26 Jani Hurme 4/9/00 OTT vs. TB 27 Shane Hnidy 10/5/00 OTT at BOS 28 Donald MacLean 10/14/00 TOR vs. OTT 29 David Oliver 11/4/00 OTT vs. CBJ 30 Jamie Rivers 11/12/00 OTT at CAR 31 Sean Gagnon 11/26/00 OTT at NYR 32 Joel Bouchard 11/29/00 PHX at COL 33 Mike Crowley 12/8/00 ANA at MIN 34 Ivan Ciernik 1/23/01 OTT at NYI 35 Darren Rumble 2/6/01 STL at COL 36 Joel Kwiatkowski 2/19/01 OTT at BUF 37 Todd White 2/19/01 OTT at BUF 38 Chris Neil 10/3/01 OTT at TOR 39 Toni Dahlman 1/3/02 OTT vs. WSH 40 Steve Martins 1/11/02 OTT at FLA 41 Kip Miller 1/17/02 NYI at SJ 42 Jody Hull 2/4/02 OTT at TB 43 Dmitry Afanasenkov 2/6/02 TB at FLA 44 Simon Lajeunesse 3/7/02 OTT at SJ 45 Martin Prusek 3/23/02 OTT vs. ATL 46 Chris Bala 3/27/02 OTT at NYI 47 Neil Little 3/28/02 PHI at CAR 48 Josh Langfeld 3/30/02 OTT vs. TB

49 Gaetan Royer 4/1/02 TB vs. NYR 50 Jason Spezza 10/24/02 OTT at BOS 51 Sean Avery 10/29/02 DET vs. SJ 52 Jason Doig 12/3/02 WSH at PIT 53 Jason Williams 12/5/02 DET at PHX 54 Patrick Boileau 12/19/02 DET vs. DAL 55 Stacy Roest 2/20/03 DET vs. EDM 56 Wade Brookbank 10/9/03 NSH vs. ANA 57 Julien Vauclair 10/25/03 OTT at MTL 58 Jiri Hudler 10/29/03 DET vs. STL 59 Curtis Joseph 10/30/03 DET at NSH 60 Darryl Bootland 11/8/03 DET vs. NSH 61 Mark Mowers 11/19/03 DET vs. CBJ 62 Nathan Robinson 11/28/03 DET vs. NYI 63 Blake Sloan 12/4/03 DAL at LA 64 Niklas Kronwall 12/10/03 DET at BUF 65 Ryan Barnes 12/15/03 DET vs. FLA 66 Chris Kelly 2/5/04 OTT vs. TOR 67 Marc Lamothe 2/23/04 DET at EDM 68 Anders Myrvold 2/26/04 DET at CGY 69 Mathieu Chouinard 2/29/04 LA at ANA

Tomas Kopecky, 2010 Chicago


TS HERE 70 Brett Lebda 10/5/05 DET vs. STL 71 Mark Eaton 10/5/05 NSH vs. SJ 72 Chris Osgood 10/29/05 DET at CHI 73 Kyle Quincey 11/25/05 DET at ANA 74 Jimmy Howard 11/28/05 DET at LA 75 Valtteri Filppula 12/15/05 DET at FLA 76 Rob Collins 12/17/05 NYI vs. COL 77 Manny Legace 1/5/06 DET vs. STL 78 David Gove 1/31/06 CAR at MTL 79 Tomas Kopecky 2/28/06 DET at SJ 80 Alexandre Giroux 3/25/06 NYR at TB 81 Joey MacDonald 10/19/06 DET at SJ 82 Derek Meech 12/7/06 DET vs. STL 83 Matt Ellis 12/18/06 DET at CBJ 84 Matt Hussey 1/26/07 DET at STL 85 Sheldon Brookbank 2/6/07 NSH at PIT 86 Danny Syvret 2/27/07 EDM vs. PHX 87 Mark Hartigan 11/29/07 DET vs. TB 88 Drew MacIntyre 12/13/07 VAN at SJ 89 Peter Vandermeer 2/10/08 PHX vs. NSH 90 Jonathan Ericsson 2/22/08 DET at CGY

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

Mark Eaton, 2009 Pittsburgh

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

Niklas Kronwall, 2008 Detroit

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

Chris Kelly, 2011 Boston

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

Kevyn Adams, 2006 Carolina


78 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


KIDS

PAGE

CAKE MANNERS CLIMB (= NICKNAME SCRAMBLE) Unscramble the goofy words to form the nickname of an AHL team. Good luck! ANAGRAMS 1. Nine Pugs 2. Ace Pics 3. No Bars 4. Of Clans 5. Rechecks 6. Scorn Ham 7. Main Races 8. Are So! 9. Spa Month 10. Vowels 11. Set Norms 12. Re: Vermin 13. Tsars 14. Reds Outing 15. Rubs In 16. Chi Egos 17. Dial Mars 18. Sniff Rig 19. Sonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tear 20. He Law 21. Bold Slug 22. Par Game 23. Hate 24. Saber 25. Spear It 26. Realism

NICKNAMES* Admirals Aeros Americans Barons Bears Bruins Bulldogs Checkers Falcons Griffins Heat IceCaps IceHogs Marlies Monarchs Monsters Penguins Phantoms Pirates Rampage Rivermen Senators Sound Tigers Stars Whale Wolves

Scorn Ham

Sniff Rig

Of Clans

Chi Egos

Bold Slug

* Excludes Crunch, Devils and Sharks

12. Rivermen 13. Stars 14. Sound Tigers

Reds Outing

8. Aeros 9. Phantoms 10. Wolves 11. Monsters

Spear It

Are So!

4. Falcons 5. Checkers 6. Monarchs 7. Americans

Vowels

ANSWERS 1. Penguins 2. IceCaps 3. Barons

Ace Pics

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 79

15. Bruins 16. IceHogs 17. Admirals 18. Griffins

19. Senators 20. Whale 21. Bulldogs 22. Rampage

23. Heat 24. Bears 25. Pirates 26. Marlies


PARTING SHOT

Tomas Tatar congratulates rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek on his personal sixth straight victory to begin the 2012-13 season. Tatar tallied five goals in a four-game stretch during the Griffinsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; eventual eight-game winning streak, the fourth longest in franchise history. Photo by Mark Newman 80 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


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2012-13 Griffiti - Issue #2