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2012-13 SEASON ISSUE NO.3

OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS


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Vol. 17, No. 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS

21

STARTING LINEUP

21 PLEASED AS PUNCH Veteran defenseman Brennan Evans is happy to still be playing after 10 seasons in the AHL. 28

THE JOURNEY OF TOM McCOLLUM

Now in his fourth season with the Griffins, the Red Wings’ former first-round draft pick is confident he’s heading in the right direction.  36 THE SECRET’S OUT

Scouts rave about Adam Almquist’s hockey sense. It will be up to the young defenseman to strengthen the argument that he is an NHL talent in the making.

28

 49 BUSINESS AS USUAL

The American Hockey League welcomes the return of its big brother to the ice with the end of the NHL lockout.   56 MR. HOCKEY – GRAND RAPIDS STYLE

Norm Kolenda has been a fixture on the local hockey scene since the late 1940s.

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:

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Griffins Brennan Evans has been a rock on AHL blue lines for the past decade. 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 ©2013 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.

56

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 1


PLAYERS TO WATCH UPCOMING HOME OPPONENTS  HOUSTON (Jan. 25, Jan. 26, Feb. 6) The Aeros have continued to push Tyler Cuma (#61), a 6-foot-2, 192-pound defenseman who is one of the top prospects of the Minnesota Wild. Now in his third season in Houston, Cuma is trying to realize the potential that drew the Wild to select him with their first pick (23rd overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Cuma, 23, who made his NHL debut last April, is considered a strong skater with excellent puck moving skills and good hockey smarts. 

ABBOTSFORD (Feb. 2)

The Heat are happy with the development of Roman Horak (#20), a Czech Republic product who is finding the back of the net with more frequency during his second pro season. Horak, 21, spent most of last season with the Calgary Flames, recording three goals and eight assists in 61 games. The 6-foot, 170-pound center was originally drafted by the New York Rangers, who traded him and two draft picks to Calgary for defenseman Tim Erixon before he made his pro debut. 2 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


LAKE ERIE (Feb. 15, March 9) The Monsters are hoping for increased point production from Brad Malone (#12,) a 23-year-old center who saw action in nine NHL games last season with the Colorado Avalanche. Malone comes from a long line of hockey players. His father, Jim Malone, was a first-round pick of the New York Rangers. His uncle, Greg Malone, played 12 seasons in the NHL from 1976-1987, and his cousin, Ryan Malone, currently plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Malone was a fourth-round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.  

CHARLOTTE (Feb. 17)

The Checkers have benefited from the arrival of Justin Faulk (#28), who quickly established himself as one of the top scoring defensemen in the AHL. Faulk, who led the Carolina Hurricanes in average ice time per game (22:50) last season, is an agile skater despite his stocky build (5-11, 215). A second-round pick (37th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Faulk led the University of Minnesota-Duluth to its first-ever NCAA title in 2011.   

SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 23, Feb. 24)

The Rampage found a dependable defenseman in Michael Caruso (#2), a stay-at-home blueliner now in his fifth AHL season. His sound, steady play is backed by natural leadership qualities, which is why the Florida Panthers re-signed the 6-foot-2, 197-pound prospect to a one-year contract last summer. A native of Mississauga, Ontario, near Toronto, the 24-year-old Caruso was selected in the fourth round (103rd overall) by the Panthers in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

HAMILTON (March 8)

The Bulldogs are pleased to see the growth of defenseman Jarred Tinordi, a 20-year-old rookie who is one of the top prospects of the Montreal Canadiens. At 6-foot-6, 218-pounds, Tinordi is a towering presence on the blueline. A first-round pick (22nd overall) by the Canadiens in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the American-born Tinordi was committed to play for the University of Notre Dame when he decided to forego his NCAA eligibility and play for the OHL’s London Knights. His father, Mark Tinordi, is a former captain of the Minnesota North Stars.

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 3


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CHALK TALK

WITH GRIFFINS HEAD COACH JEFF BLASHILL Photo: Occam Photography

With the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL owners and players, the Griffins – like every other team in the AHL – are bracing for the inevitable roster changes. Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill is hopeful that his team will be able to not only survive but thrive. He thinks he has good reason for feeling confident about his team’s chances heading into the second half of the season. “The unique challenge of the American Hockey League is roster fluctuation, and going forward there will be changes. We may lose certain players and we may get others in return, so that certainly will be a challenge that our team will have to face and overcome,” he said. “I think the strength of our team is our depth and character, and those two things become very important if you want to have success throughout the course of a season.” During the first half, the Griffins had 10 players who averaged at least a half point per game, which meant the team was getting nightly contributions from more than just its top line. “I’m pleased with the progress that we’ve made up to this point in the season. I’m pleased with the fact that our guys have continued to come to the rink every single day to get better and, as a result, our team has grown from day one,” Blashill said. “We’re better in a lot of defensive aspects. We’re better in the areas that it takes to win hockey games. Individually, players have really grown in their own games and, as a result, I think that’s why you see contributions both defensively and offensively from numerous players on any given night.” The Griffins’ depth should provide protection if call-ups and injuries begin to disrupt the team roster. “Depth-wise, we feel we have guys who are very good hockey players, but they haven’t had as much opportunity up to this point. They’re just waiting for their chance, whether it’s playing an increased role or just getting into the lineup. We feel those guys have the ability to excel, and now they will have to go out and prove it.”

Several players have taken advantage of increased ice time. Five had reached double digits in goals by the 35-game mark, including Riley Sheahan and Landon Ferraro, a pair of 21-year-old centers who have excelled at both ends of the ice. “Both players have done a good job of taking advantage of the great opportunities they’ve been given,” Blashill said. “Both have earned lots of ice time and both play 5-on-5, penalty kill and power play.” Best of all, both continue to improve. “Riley is an outstanding defensive player who also has a lot of offensive ability, and that’s allowed him to step into numerous situations and have success,” Blashill said. “Landon is a very smart hockey player with good speed and skill and who also plays hard – a good combination for success – and he’s really taken a big step as a player this season.” The Griffins also have enjoyed strong play at the goaltending position. “You’re always better off with numerous good players at any position, and I’ve jokingly said that two good goaltenders are better than none,” Blashill said. “We certainly have two good ones and I have a lot of confidence that they will give us the chance to win the hockey game on most nights.” But it’s the strength of the team’s character that might be the biggest boon as the Griffins seek their first playoff appearance in four seasons. “In any season, there are ups and downs, and it’s your character that carries you through the highs and the lows,” Blashill said. “When things are going really well, character allows your team to maintain the focus it takes to be great. When things aren’t going well, character allows your team to work through the tough times. “I know for certain we have great character. Our leadership, from our captains to the young, up-andcoming players, is matched by great character. They genuinely care about each other and support each other on and off the ice. They want to do everything it takes to win hockey games.” Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 5


COMING ATTRACTIONS A STRONG IMPRESSION

Sports and faith have had ties about as long as there have been games to be won and people drawing on a larger power to win them. So the roots of The Conquerors run deep and strong. Comprised of Christian athletes from various sports, The Conquerors use feats of strength to captivate audiences while delivering their message about the power of Jesus Christ. The Conquerors will headline Faith and Family Night presented by Cornerstone University when they appear at Van Andel Arena on Sunday, Feb. 17 while the Griffins face the Charlotte Checkers in a 4 p.m. contest. Their feats of strength, combined with upbeat music and message, are designed to make a “strong” impression on people young and old. Led by Mike Benson, an evangelist from Resurrection Life Church in Grandville, this sports ministry will lift spirits with its performance. Benson, whose background in bodybuilding, powerlifting and martial arts makes him the ideal captain, is joined by a group of unique individuals with unique skills. The Conquerors include Greg Molchan, a former Grand Valley 6 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

State University defensive end; Shawnna Smith, who can rip a 1400-page phonebook in half; and Yago Williams, a massage therapist who specializes in snapping bats around his back with his biceps. For a unique presentation of athletic ministry, The Conquerors are hard to beat.   GRIFFINS GIVEAWAYS Upcoming Griffins home games will feature a number of good-looking giveaways. On Saturday, Jan. 26, the first 2,000 fans will receive a Griff garden gnome, courtesy of Comerica Bank. A week later, on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2,500 fans will receive a Gustav Nyquist bobblehead, courtesy of Lake Michigan Credit Union. Finally, on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2,500 fans will receive a Francis Pare bobblehead, thanks to Harold Zeigler ChryslerDodge-Jeep-Fiat.   SECOND ANNUAL PURPLE COMMUNITY GAME Deep Purple, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Barney the Purple Dinosaur and the Purple People Eaters have company. Nothing rhymes with “purple,” but nearly everything at Van

Andel Arena will be in sync with the color associated with cancer survivors on Friday, March 8, when the Grand Rapids Griffins host their second “Purple Game” to benefit the Van Andel Institute (VAI). The Griffins will wear special purple jerseys, which will be autographed and auctioned to the public in the Fifth Third Bank Vault restaurant after the game, with proceeds benefiting VAI. There will be purple concession items and purple-related songs, videos and graphics, including purple logos embedded in the arena’s ice surface.   STAR WARS NIGHT The 501st Legion returns for another Star Wars Night to benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation, when the Griffins try to access the Force to battle the Lake Erie Monsters on Saturday, March 9. Sponsored by Consumers Energy, Star Wars Night will feature over 50 costumed characters roaming the arena and interacting with fans. In addition to light sabers and Griffins Star Wars-themed pucks and T-shirts being sold on the concourse, a photo area will be set up for fans to get their picture taken with their favorite characters for a small donation.


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

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 7


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

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

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


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

Dan DeVos President & CEO Grand Rapids Griffins

10 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


DAVID A. ANDREWS

PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE

American Hockey League

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

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

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

theahl.com

@TheAHL

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 11


HISTORY

The American Hockey League is enjoying its 77th season

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

A Tradition of Excellence Est. 1936

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

Photo: HHOF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


PLAYERS

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

COACHES

Photo: AHL Archives

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: John Wright

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

STARS

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

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

theahl.com

PhotoGraphics Photography/AHL

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

Ben Bishop 2012 AHL All-Star Game MVP

@TheAHL Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 13


2012-13 AHL DIRECTORY

EASTERN CONFERENCE

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

ADIRONDACK PHANTOMS

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

ALBANY DEVILS

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

BINGHAMTON SENATORS

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

BRIDGEPORT SOUND TIGERS

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

CONNECTICUT WHALE

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

HERSHEY BEARS

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

MANCHESTER MONARCHS

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

NORFOLK ADMIRALS

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

PORTLAND PIRATES

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

PROVIDENCE BRUINS

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

SPRINGFIELD FALCONS

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


2012-13 AHL DIRECTORY ST. JOHN’S ICECAPS

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

SYRACUSE CRUNCH

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

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

ABBOTSFORD HEAT

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

CHARLOTTE CHECKERS

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

CHICAGO WOLVES

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

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

WORCESTER SHARKS

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

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS

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

HAMILTON BULLDOGS

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

HOUSTON AEROS

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

LAKE ERIE MONSTERS

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


2012-13 AHL DIRECTORY MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS

TEXAS STARS

OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS

TORONTO MARLIES

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

PEORIA RIVERMEN

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

ROCHESTER AMERICANS

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

ROCKFORD ICEHOGS

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

SAN ANTONIO RAMPAGE

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

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

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

2012-13 PLAYOFF FORMAT

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


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!

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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, 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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PLEASED AS PUNCH Veteran defenseman Brennan Evans is happy to still be playing after 10 seasons in the AHL.  Story and photos by Mark Newman Brennan Evans would love to be a rock star someday. There’s only one problem. “I just lack the musical talent,” Evans said. “I have a guitar and I can probably play the intro to about 10 songs, but that’s about it.” An avid music lover, his tastes run the complete gamut – Pink Floyd and Pearl Jam are two of his favorites – but he draws the line at country, which is ironic since country is almost all you hear in his hometown of Camrose, Alberta, located in the prairies in western Canada. “I go to concerts every chance I get,” Evans said. “I saw Roger Waters this past summer and it was unbelievable, but the timing couldn’t have been worse because I ended up with a bad case of kidney stones.” He ranks “The Wall” as one of the best shows he’s ever seen, right up there with the two times he’s seen Tool, the adventurous rock group fronted by Maynard James Keenan, who once studied at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. Evans’ iPod is a fixture in the Griffins’ dressing room. “With close to 10,000 songs, everybody can find a piece of something they might like on it,” Evans said. Rock stardom, however, seems out of his reach, although Evans can lay claim to

having once met Kirk Hammett of Metallica and getting to hang out with the band after a concert. But don’t count him out just yet. After all, the Griffins defenseman has been defying the odds for years. Evans was never drafted by an NHL team, but Detroit represents his sixth organization after previous tours with Calgary, Ottawa, San Jose, Anaheim and St. Louis. He is not the fastest skater, doesn’t have the hardest shot and certainly doesn’t have the softest hands, but Evans is now in his 10th pro season and is rapidly approaching 700 games played in the AHL. For a big, physical defenseman, Evans has been remarkably resilient. He has played in 70 or more games during six of the past seven seasons. His career highlights include two Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2004 against Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings (he even has a photo to prove it) and a 2011 hat trick – a rarity for any defenseman and a remarkable achievement for a player whose career high for goals in a season is three. He’s amassed more than 1,400 penalty minutes in his pro career, having fought more than 100 times entering this season. It’s not Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 21


been the easiest way to make a living, but he’s more than happy to come to the defense of his teammates. “Honestly, I’m happy to do anything I can to stay in the game,” Evans said. “I don’t score a lot of goals, and you have to find ways to make yourself valuable, so I don’t mind fighting. There’s a lot worse ways to make a living.” Being a bigger guy – he’s listed at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds – Evans is expected to be a physical presence on the ice. It helped to have grown up with two younger brothers, and he’s certainly had a lot of practice over the years. “I’m not sure ‘better’ is the word for it,” he said of his fighting prowess. “Maybe I’ve gotten smarter.” Over the years, he’s battled plenty of guys with whom he is on friendly terms. His first fight in the Western Hockey League was against James DeMone. “He’s a good friend of mine and he broke my nose,” he said. “That’s something you laugh about.” And a broken nose isn’t the worse of it. Evans has been knocked out twice. “The worst was in Cranbrook, British Columbia, when I was playing in junior hockey. It was kind of ugly. The TV station there played highlights every hour and they ran this clip of me lying unconscious on the ice, face down, for almost a week. You can see the blood pooling underneath me. “It was actually a good fight, and the funny thing is, I thought I was winning. He caught me right here” – Evans points to his right cheek, just under the eye – “and I don’t remember anything after. Took eight stitches. It was Logan Stephenson, and we ended up playing together in Iowa. He put me in the hospital for a night and gave me the worst concussion of my life, Evans is as dependable as defensemen but we laughed when we talked about it.” come. He’s played in 75 or more games Evans believes his longevity is five times, including two seasons when attributable to taking good care he didn’t miss a game. of his body and a lot of luck. He 22 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


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learned about the value of good nutrition when he started his pro career in the Calgary organization. He’s also done his share of boxing over the years. “When I lived in Calgary, I tried kickboxing for two summers and that was a whole different ballgame. It was a lot of cardio as much as anything else. We’d warm up for the first half hour until we were dead-tired, then we’d spar, but we were so tired, we couldn’t really do anything. It was actually a lot of fun.” Evans has fond memories of Calgary, in part because it’s the one stop where he got a chance to play at the highest level. He served as a “black ace” during the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs and was pressed into duty after injuries depleted the Flames’ roster against the Red Wings. “I remember sitting in a hotel room, and they weren’t sure if Rhett Warrener was going to be able to play because of an eye injury,” Evans said. “At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, they called and said he can’t go, you’re playing.” Butterflies already in his stomach, his nerves were compounded on the way to the rink when an accident blocked the main street heading into the arena. “I could see the rink from where I was stuck in traffic. I thought about just leaving my car and running to the rink,” he said. “I was on the phone with the team and they said, ‘Don’t worry. Just get here whenever you can.’” Evans arrived more than a half-hour later than planned, but made it in time for the warmup skate. “It is one of my most vivid memories. I was trying not to look over to their side on purpose because of the personnel they had. I finally thought, I have to at least sneak a look, and in three seconds I saw Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Nick Lidstrom, (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg. It was nuts.” Evans got exactly one shift in the game, which amounted to 32 seconds of ice time, but his team won 3-2 to take the lead in a series the Flames would eventually win in six games. “It was only one shift, but to be honest, I was just happy sitting on the bench,” he said. “I had the best seat in the house.” He saw about five minutes of ice time in the next game, even getting into a brief brush 24 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

with Yzerman, which has been preserved for posterity by a photo that he proudly treasures. “I don’t really remember how it happened, but we’ve got our gloves in each other’s face, and you can clearly see that it’s Yzerman and me. It’s a great photo.” His other career highlight came two seasons ago when he got a hat trick in Peoria against Texas, the three goals being as many as he had scored in his previous 288 games combined. “Weird is the best word for it because I don’t score a lot of goals,” he said. “I’ve gone whole seasons without a goal. Once in a while I get a good shot from the point, but usually I’m lucky if they bounce in.” Amazingly, the third goal came on a breakaway as Evans was coming back onto the ice from the penalty box. “I was so nervous – I think it’s my only breakaway in the pros. I’ve got one move that I do in practice all of the time, and I did it and it worked. I have a photo from the game that shows one hat on the ice and us celebrating on the bench like we just won the Stanley Cup.” If it seems hard to believe, video highlights of the game can stlll be found on YouTube. Still, Evans knows that the Red Wings didn’t bring him to Grand Rapids for his goal-scoring ability. “It’s nice to contribute offensively and you always want to pitch in, but it’s not why I’m here,” he said. “Teams know what they’re getting, at least I hope so. Hopefully, every team has gotten what they wanted out of me. “If my role here is to set a good example and help the younger guys get to the next level, I welcome that opportunity, whether it’s showing them how to be pros at the rink or helping them with the off-ice things that aren’t necessarily taught to you by coaches.” Evans would like to continue playing as long as he is healthy. Another five seasons might get him to 1,000 games, which would certainly be an accomplishment.  “I’m definitely proud of the number of games I’ve been able to play,” he said. “Hopefully I can play a few more years.”  


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MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

2012-13 GRIFFINS PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE

JAN 26 JAN 26

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 Game at Griff’s IceHouse Feb. 17: Faith & Family Night presented by Cornerstone Univ./ Appearance by The Conquerors

FEB 12

Feb. 19: 2nd Annual Red, White & Brews at the Goei Center, to benefit Easter Seals Michigan Feb. 23: Francis Pare Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Harold Zeigler Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Fiat/ 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

FEB 19

March 22: ‘90s Night presented by J&H Family Stores/Jersey Auction April 13: Tomas Tatar 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

FEB 23

FEB 2

MAR 9

MAR 8

FEB 23

S E A S O N - L O N G Dollar Beers and Hot Dogs: Every Friday, enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last. Get in the D-ZONE: Every Friday night is a Griffins WGRD D-Zone night. Avoid the concession lines and have your $1 beers and $1 hot dogs served to you in your seats. Call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit griffinshockey. com/dzone to get your tickets today! The D-Zone sevengame pack includes games on Feb. 15, March 22 and April 19, and the 14-pack includes all Friday games. A limited number of single-game four-ticket packages are also available. College Night presented by H & R Block: 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 the Feb. 6 and March 13 home games, show your Griffins ticket at participating Arena District restaurants and bars – including Peppino’s 26 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

P R O M O T I O N S

Sports Grille, home of the Griffins’ Wednesday postgame 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 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: Feb. 6, 17 and 24; March 13; and April 10. J&H Family Stores Post-Game Open Skates: Jan. 26; Feb. 23; March 9; and April 13 and 19 Huntington Bank Post-Game Autograph Sessions: 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

28 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

Now in his fourth season with the Griffins, the Red Wings’ former first-round draft pick is confident he’s heading in the right direction.


McCollum seems to have finally found his groove. This season he is allowing nearly a goal less per game and his save percentage has never been better.

Tom McCollum came to Grand Rapids with high expectations, having been selected in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings. Seen as a potential successor in goal to Chris Osgood, McCollum struggled during his first three years, splitting each season between the Griffins and the Toledo Walleye in the ECHL. While some critics were ready to write off the New York state native as a bust, the Red Wings kept working with their prized prospect, hoping for a replay of Jimmy Howard, their former secondround pick who blossomed after four seasons in Grand Rapids. McCollum knows the story all too well. “I’ve heard the Howie story a million times,” he said with only slight exaggeration. “I heard it numerous times in conversation with Ken Holland, Jim Nill, Coach (Mike) Babcock, Jimmy Bedard and just about everybody in the organization.” He didn’t mind. “It was refreshing to hear,” he admits. “I think it helped put my first couple of years, when things weren’t going so well, in perspective.” After winning five of his first seven starts as a pro in 2009-10, McCollum spent three years searching for the consistency that the Red Wings had hoped he would provide when they selected him with the 30th overall pick. McCollum seems to have finally found his groove. This season he is allowing nearly a goal less per game and his save percentage has never been better. “It’s definitely taken longer than I wanted, but I couldn’t be happier,” McCollum said after a recent practice. “I feel a lot more comfortable and confident in the net.” He’s the first to admit that his transition to the professional ranks did not go as smoothly as he might have liked. “At various points I’ve definitely gotten

frustrated, mostly with myself because I knew I wasn’t playing as well as I could,” he said. “Nobody puts higher expectations on me than I do.” If anything, he might have been guilty of pressing too much. “I know it can be a positive, but at times, I think I turned it into a negative,” he said. “I’m harder on myself than anybody, and I think it’s been my downfall at times.” And yet, McCollum always stayed positive. Teammates often saw him smiling, even when his insides were churning with frustration. “The biggest thing that helped me is that I never doubted whether or not I could play,” he said. “I knew I could play at this level and play extremely well. It was just a matter of finding the right mindset.” For several summers, McCollum spent countless hours working with Bedard, the Red Wings’ goaltending coach. The two conveniently lived only minutes apart in the Niagara Falls area and, this past summer, worked several hockey schools together. “I think teaching is one of the best ways to learn,” McCollum said. “You’re teaching kids the fundamentals and how to do things properly, and when you’re teaching the same thing 20 times a day, it works as positive reinforcement for yourself. It helps the kids learn while beating it into your own subconscious.” McCollum has also benefited from the presence of the retired Osgood, who, with Bedard, is a frequent visitor to the Griffins’ practices and games in his role as the organization’s goaltending development coach. “They’ve both really helped and made me a much better player,” he said. “They haven’t changed too much, only a few technical things, but the biggest change is my mental approach to the game.” The unflappable Osgood has shown McCollum the importance of staying calm, cool and collected.

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 29


Photo: Getty Images

best that I can “It’s a huge and not worry advantage to have someone so much about everything else, with his track just worry about record here,” stopping the next McCollum said. shot coming my “I’ve really made way.” a conscious Being sent effort to learn to Toledo also from him, and helped remind you can see him why he how relaxed he started playing is, even now. hockey in the If he comes first place.  in the middle “Toledo of practice, he got me back might give a McCollum’s first and only NHL appearance came on to having fun suggestion here March 30, 2011, when he made five saves in a relief effort again,” he said. or there, but against the St. Louis Blues. “It’s a completely then he’ll start different atmosphere down there. With call-ups talking about something that has nothing to do with hockey. He knows how to keep you relaxed.” and two affiliations, you never know your lineup from one night to the next, so it puts the onus on McCollum thinks Osgood’s demeanor has you to play well because you know you’re going rubbed off on him. to see a ton of shots. You need to play well in “I feel a lot more relaxed this year,” he said. order for the team to win.” “My approach now is just to go out and play the

30 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


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The arrival of Red Wings goaltending prospect Petr Mrazek from the Czech Republic this season also gave McCollum a boost by removing some of the pressure to perform. “Being more relaxed has definitely helped,” he said. “And it’s definitely more enjoyable to come to the rink when you know you’re going to play well every day.” It didn’t hurt that Mrazek won his first six starts this season. “We’re both very good goalies and I think we do a great job of pushing each other,” McCollum said. “Petr and I both want to be that No. 1 guy and that leads to us pushing each other, and that’s only going to benefit the team.” Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek has watched McCollum since he arrived four years ago, and he’s happy that the Wings prospect has finally begun to enjoy the success that others had been predicted. “They always say it takes a goalie longer to develop than forwards and defensemen,” Paek said. “Tommy has matured tremendously this season, and it’s shown in his game.” McCollum has served as a “black ace” McCollum thinks his improvement has also with Detroit during the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons.

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in front of me play better,” he said. “When a team is confident of the guy playing behind them, they make more confident plays and that benefits everyone.” In the end, it’s all about consistency. “Consistency is the most important thing for any goalie, to allow the team to have the confidence in you and what they’re going to get out of you each night,” he said. “You’re going to have your bad days – everybody has those – but you want to limit them to as few as possible. I’ve done a much better job of letting things roll off my back this year. If I give up a bad goal, I find ways to make a good save later in the game to keep it close. If I have a tough game, I try to play as well as I can in my next start.” Maybe all McCollum needed was time. “My first couple of years I was trying to make saves, and this year I’m letting the shots come to me. It’s like I’m letting the saves happen. I’m letting my instincts take over instead of pressing and trying to control everything. I’m trying to make plays as they come to me.” With age and maturity, McCollum has found the right balance. 

“My first year here, I was only 19. These things take time. There will always be the exceptions like Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy who are phenomenal from the get-go, but those are two of the greatest goalies of all-time. “Carey Price, Marc-Andre Fleury and Pekka Rinne have gotten better as they’ve gotten older. Look at Tim Thomas. I don’t know if I could name half of the places that he played before he came back to Boston and turned into a star. “As much as you don’t want it to take forever, sometimes you have to learn to appreciate the journey. Seeing the same situations over and over, you’re going to get better. I understand that it takes time and hard work; it takes time just to build your confidence.  “The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I have to keep believing in myself, keep working hard and doing things the right way. Eventually everything is going to work out.”

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Scouts rave about Adam Almquist’s hockey sense. It will be up to the young defenseman to strengthen the argument that he is an NHL talent in the making. 36 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS

Story and photos by Mark Newman


Gustav Nyquist jokingly complains that AHL “It’s much easier when you have someone rookie Adam Almquist – his fellow Swedish who can talk your first language,” Almquist countryman and teammate – keeps all his stories said, noting that they talk more in English than to himself. Swedish out of respect for their teammates. “It’s “Nobody knows about him,” Nyquist said. nice to be able to talk to somebody about things “He’s the man of mystery.” back home.” In his defense, Almquist says he is just a The toughest thing, according to Almquist, is good listener. If he’s perceived as being quiet, it’s paying bills, although that will likely become less just that he would prefer to let his game do the of a concern the longer he is in the U.S. and the talking. quicker he achieves his goal of Nearing the halfway “If it all came down playing in the NHL. point of his first full season Based on skill level alone, his with the Griffins, it’s obvious chances are very good. to hockey sense, he that Almquist’s play speaks “If it all came down to hockey volumes. sense, he probably would probably would have have been a first-round pick,” “For a defenseman, his skill level is excellent,” said Hakan Andersson, the Red been a first-round pick.” Wings’ director of European Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek, a former NHL scouting, said in 2009 after defenseman himself. “He’s got great hockey Detroit grabbed him with the next-to-last pick sense and knows how to read plays and position in the NHL Entry Draft. “(His) hockey sense is himself. He moves really well across the blue line, something else. It’s as good as I’ve seen in many has great vision and shows poise with the puck. years.” “What does he need to do to get better? Hockey sense is the ability to read and react to Physically, he’s still a boy and he needs to get different situations and make the right decisions stronger, because at the next level he’ll be playing under pressure. Curiously, Almquist says he against men.” found it playing soccer rather than hockey. If Almquist seems a bit reserved, it helps to “It probably came from my father,” Almquist remember that he is only 21 years old and is still said. “He was a very good soccer player, and he getting used to a new language, a new country had what you could call really good soccer sense. and a new style of hockey. He understood soccer and had a good sense of This is a kid whose Twitter account photo the game in terms of good passing and always shows him looking rather sharp in a tux, walking thinking a step ahead.” under a black umbrella in the rain – on the way Thomas Almquist played hockey until a heart to his school prom. condition prevented him from playing the sport, Coming to North America is certainly a new so instead he excelled at soccer. He played a high experience for the young Red Wings prospect, level before he settled on being a painter (houses, one which he has heartily embraced. not canvases) and teaching his two sons how to Homesick? “Not at all, actually,” he said. “I play. can Skype with family and friends, so it’s not His older brother didn’t make it past junior a problem. I really enjoy it here and I like the hockey, but young Adam continued to excel, hockey, so it’s been kind of easy.” even though he was always smaller than the He admits that there have been adjustments, other boys with whom he played. starting with the language. “I learned English “I’ve been a little guy since I was young, so I in school, but it’s not the same thing, not at all,” had to think in a different way,” Almquist said. he said. “So it starts with getting used to the He found his inspiration in watching Johan language.” Akerman, a talented, puck-moving defenseman It’s helped that he has two fellow Swedes, who played 10 seasons in Sweden, as well as Nyquist and Joakim Andersson, as teammates. in Germany, Switzerland, Norway, France and They’ve helped him adjust away from the ice, Russia. whether it’s finding an apartment or buying a car “He played in my hometown (Jonkoping) to get around town. when I was like 15-17. He was such a good

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 37


player,” Almquist easier to come said. “He had into this season really good because I knew a hockey sense and lot of the guys on I just liked the the team.” way he played. I Almquist tried to do what worked hard this he did.” past summer, Akerman knowing that he eventually moved needs to get bigger on, but it was and stronger in only a couple of order to succeed at years later that the next level. Almquist found “When I was himself following younger, I didn’t in the footsteps of think about the his idol. fact that I was During the smaller than the 2009-10 season, other guys,” he Almquist said. “But as I got amassed 34 points older, I started (5 goals and 29 hearing it all the assists) in just time.” 15 games at the Too much, in under-20 level fact. before earning “That’s the way a promotion that it is – I can’t to HV71 do anything about (Jonkoping) in it,” Almquist said. the SEL at the age “I certainly can’t of 18. be taller. But I “I had been know I can be having a really stronger and I’m Almquist made his North American debut late last season good year when working on it.” when he appeared in three games with the Griffins. they called me He’s adjusted up,” he said. “I got to play for the team from my well to the North American game – “It’s a lot hometown. I had followed them my whole life more up-and-down hockey,” he said. He’s also and had gone to every game when I was younger. found a solid defensive partner in Brian Lashoff. It was a dream come true.” “We complement each other.” He held his own in Sweden’s top league. “I just Almquist knows what he has to do to earn tried to play the same way,” said Almquist, who a permanent place on the Red Wings’ blueline. tallied eight points in 28 games with the big club. “I think I need to improve everything, and “Winning the championship that season was the obviously I have to get stronger. It’s going to take perfect ending to a phenomenal year.” time,” he said. He skated in 52 contests during his first full “I have to work hard season in the SEL, then appeared in 42 more every day, earn my games last year before being reassigned to Grand ice time, put up some Rapids. He saw action in three late-season games points, play well for the with the Griffins. team and win a lot of “It did me well,” he said of his brief games. I have to play introduction to the AHL. “It allowed me to see good here first. Then how everything works here. I found it a little bit we’ll see what happens.” 38 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


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

8 WILLIE COETZEE

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

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

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

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

CHAD BILLINS

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32 MIKE KNUBLE

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TOM McCOLLUM

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30 BRIAN LASHOFF

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BUSINESS AS USUAL

The American Hockey League welcomes the return of its big brother to the ice with the end of the NHL lockout.  On Jan. 6, 2013, after news broke regarding a proposed deal between NHL owners and the players, American Hockey League president David Andrews tweeted: “NHL is back. Great news for hockey. Big opportunity for AHL players when NHL camp opens. Thx to all for contribution to AHL during stoppage.” If there was speculation that the announcement was bittersweet for Andrews and the AHL, it was misplaced. “We felt all along, and still believe, that the NHL is what drives our business and what drives our sport. It’s why our players are playing here,” Andrews

told Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times. “We need the NHL playing in order for everybody to settle in and be looking forward in their careers, and for fans to be happy all over North America.” There was no debate that the play in the AHL was stronger during the first half of the season, thanks to the influx of NHL-caliber prospects.  Nearly every team featured prospects who likely would have been in the NHL if not for the labor impasse. Included among those numbers were more than a handful of superstar prospects who otherwise might never have played in the minors this season.

With the end of the lockout, the doors now swing open for the AHL’s best players to claim roster spots at the NHL level, raising the stakes on every shift.

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 49


Norfolk Admirals coach and ex-NHL defenseman Trent Yawney took notice of the talent. “Obviously, it’s a good league to start with, but when you have a work stoppage like we’ve had, pretty much every team has at least two or three guys who are probably going to be on their parent teams if it ends,” Yawney told the Washington Times. Andrews admitted that the NHL lockout was a positive influence on the quality of play inside the AHL. “The caliber of play has been great, with 125 or 150 players in our league and a lot of them – most of them really – young, outstanding players,” Andrews said before the lockout ended. “It picked up the pace of the game. It’s been a positive in every respect for the American League for a couple of months.” The absence of the NHL may also have helped push more people through the Oklahoma City’s Jordan Eberle, who scored 34 goals and was a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy last season AHL turnstiles.    with the Edmonton Oilers, was just one of many prized Through early January, right before the prospects playing in the AHL earlier this season. lockout ended, the AHL’s 30 teams had

50 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


an average paid attendance of 5,434 in 510 overall games. At a similar point last year, the AHL was pulling in an average of 5,170. “I don’t know that you can assume it’s all the lockout,” Andrews said. “We have been showing revenue through ticket growth year after year in a difficult economy.” Even so, it’s likely that some AHL franchises, such as Toronto, Hamilton and Chicago, saw increases in gate traffic due to the absence of NHL teams in their markets. Some curious fans may have bought tickets at AHL prices to see NHL regulars. If nothing else, the amount of coverage received by the AHL increased exponentially during the lockout. Asked by Jesse Spector of The Sporting News if the NHL lockout had managed to draw added attention to his league, Andrews had a clear reply. “I think it has, especially in terms of exposure for the league from a media perspective,” he said. While it’s true that the league will lose some marquee players to the NHL, Andrews believes the AHL’s on-ice product will remain as compelling as ever.

With the end of the lockout, the doors now swing open for the AHL’s best players to claim roster spots at the NHL level, raising the stakes on every shift. “I think that having the NHL back is critically important for everyone in hockey,” Andrews told Lindsay Kramer of the Syracuse Post-Standard. “We’re looking forward to business as usual.” “We had a good, competitive league for 76 years before this lockout, and we’ll be fine (now).” The AHL, already home to the some of the best young talent outside of the NHL, promises to be no less exciting or competitive during the post-lockout schedule.  Andrews thinks the league can build on the momentum from the first half. “What you hope will happen with all of our teams is that you maximize your opportunity,” Andrews said. “And I think we have.”

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R A P I D S

S T Y L E

Norm Kolenda has been a fixture on the local hockey scene since the late 1940s. For more than 60 years, there has been a others took the snow outside in wheelbarrows,” perpetual bond between Norm Kolenda and Kolenda said. “Any snow left was melted by the hockey. water we laid down from two big barrels on “He’s worked with the Rockets, the Blades, wheels that must have held at least 50 gallons.” the Owls and the Griffins,” said Harold ‘Doc’ Harkness eventually negotiated $45 per Pierce, who has known Kolenda for more than week for the boys to split a dozen ways, but it half of those years. “He helped start GRAHA was the free ice time that meant the most. and helped get high school hockey going. He’s Lou Trudel, coach of the Rockets and a done more for youth member of the 1934 hockey than anybody and 1938 Stanley else I know. Cup-winning Chicago “As far as I’m Blackhawks, started a concerned, he’s Mr. kids’ hockey program, Hockey in Grand much to the boys’ Rapids.” delight. And yet, his name Kolenda and his pals is not that well continued to improve, known. the more they played. “Most people “As we got older, we’d have no idea what climb into our cars he’s done for hockey and our junior team in the area because would follow the he’s so quiet and so Rockets wherever they modest,” said Jack played, and we would Harkness, who has try to get a game lined known Kolenda up,” said Kolenda, since they were both who relished being a teenagers. hockey hobo. Kolenda and Hockey equipment Norm Kolenda has been the official timekeeper for all 17 Griffins seasons. Harkness were part was a bit spare in of a group of boys those days. “We’d tape who became rink rats after the Rockets started magazines to our legs for shin guards and playing professional hockey in Grand Rapids ‘borrow’ whatever we could from the Rockets,” in 1949.  Kolenda said. “Of course, you never wore “I used to take the bus to the old Stadium helmets and the only gloves we used were our Arena,” recalled Kolenda, who was 13 at the regular ones.” time. “We shoveled the ice because there were Kolenda almost had a brush with the big no Zambonis back then.” time in the late 1950s. “Trudel had ties with The responsibility of laying a new sheet of the old Cleveland Barons and it looked like I ice between periods was one that the boys might get a chance at a training camp, but then eagerly embraced in exchange for free ice time. I broke my ankle in the senior state playoffs “About four of us pushed shovels while and that took care of that.” 56 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


Drafted into military service, Kolenda spent a couple of years playing hockey for an all-service team stationed in Germany. The team played games across Europe, mostly on weekends, except for local contests in various German locales during the week. “We were supposed to be ‘Ambassadors on Ice,’ but I think we made more enemies than friends,” Kolenda said. “We were escorted out of more than one town.” It was a strong team – the goalie was Larry Palmer, the backup netminder on the 1960 U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal – and the team usually drew large crowds wherever it traveled, from Austria to Italy to Switzerland. Kolenda remembers playing in the stadium in Cortina, Italy, where the 1956 Winter Olympics were held. “It was a beautiful experience,” he said. “Once I got to Europe, I think I wore my (military) uniform once and that was to come home.” Back in Grand Rapids, finding a good hockey game was not easy, especially with a dearth of available rinks. Kolenda recalls playing on Reeds Lake with boards donated from area lumberyards and

616.949.7446

strings of lights from Harkness’ used car lot. It was an ideal setup for a few winters and then the rink moved to Kimble Field in Wyoming. “It was perfect for one year there, too, then the next summer the city used our boards to build something else,” Harkness recalled. When Jolly Roger Ice Arena opened in 1972, Kolenda helped a group start the Grand Rapids Amateur Hockey Association (GRAHA) and not long after, an area high school program. “I ended up having three boys and I knew I was looking forward to having them play,” he said. David, his oldest, played junior hockey in Detroit. Kevin, the middle son, played high school hockey. But it was the youngest, Mike, who went the furthest. He played college hockey at Ferris State, then played four seasons in the ECHL, along with a handful of games in the IHL. At Ferris, he was a senior defenseman when Griffins coach Jeff Blashill was a freshman goalie. “There were about four years where I put 60,000 miles a year on my car,” Kolenda said “Mike would play Saturday morning in Detroit, and I’d drive back to take care of the high school program that night, then drive back to Detroit on Sunday.”

www.fastsigns.com/467 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 57


Like GRAHA, Kolenda got deeply involved in high school hockey, simply for the love of the game. “When we got the program started, there were only a handful of guys who knew anything about the game,” said Kolenda, who would coach for 3-4 hours a night after working as a production manager in the corrugated paper business. He was well-liked as a coach. “He knew the game very well and the kids liked him,” said Jan Christian, whose son Tim played with Mike Kolenda at Ferris. “He never got upset, and that’s what you need in youth hockey when parents are pulling you every which way.” Kolenda said he was blessed with some very good players. Mike Knuble, who played at the University of Michigan before a long career in the NHL, was a member of Kolenda’s state championship bantam team in 1986-87. Harkness, who helped keep the high school hockey program going when he bought the Cascade Ice Arena in the mid-1970s, said Kolenda was gracefully following in the footsteps of Trudel, the former Rockets coach. Trudel passed away in 1971 at the age of 58,

but he was so influential that both Kolenda and Harkness believe youth hockey would have been better if had lived longer. When Kolenda wasn’t lending a hand to GRAHA or the high school program, he kept busy as an off-ice official with the local pro hockey teams. He was the official timekeeper during the Grand Rapids Blades’ lone season (1976-77), as well as the Owls during their stay in Grand Rapids (1977-80). He has served in the same volunteer capacity for all 17 seasons that the Griffins have been in existence (1996-present). Kolenda also volunteers three nights a week for the Griffins Youth Foundation, helping sharpen the 300 pairs of skates that the organization provides for area youth. “It gets me out of the house and gives me something to do,” said Kolenda, who also enjoys watching his two grandsons play hockey. None of which surprises Pierce, his fellow off-ice official. “Norm has done more for youth hockey in this area than people will ever know, because that’s just the kind of guy he is,” Pierce said. “You couldn’t ask for a nicer guy.”  

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8th Annual Griffins/Sled Wings Game Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, Griff’s IceHouse at Belknap Park (30 Coldbrook NE) Admission: $5 at the door, free to children 2 and under

Come watch the Grand Rapids Griffins play a spirited game of sled hockey with and against the Grand Rapids Sled Wings, a talented team of physically challenged children and young adults sponsored by the Griffins Youth Foundation, in partnership with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. 6 P.M. Try out a sled on the ice ($1 donation) Free autograph session with Griffins players 7 P.M. Faceoff! Presented by:

Proceeds benefit the Grand Rapids Sled Wings and the Griffins Youth Foundation. 

griffinshockey.com Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 61


Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 63


64 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


GRIFFINS RECORDS (Through January 15, 2013)

GRIFFINS ALL-TIME LEADERS

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

GAMES PLAYED Travis Richards ............. 655 Michel Picard ................ 364 Francis Pare ................... 325 Jamie Tardif ................... 316 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 ......................91 Tomas Tatar......................79 Jamie Tardif ......................78 Kip Miller ..........................75 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 ................... 122 Jiri Hudler ...................... 114 Tomas Tatar................... 100 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.

GRIFFINS’ 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


Sports Medicine Institute

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Grand Rapids Griffins Since Game 1.

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PENALTY CALLS

68 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


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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 SCORING

(* = Led League)

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

2010 AHL All-Star Patrick Rissmiller

Photo by Sports Action Photograph

y/AHL

2009 AHL All-Star Jakub Kindl

y/AHL

Photo by JustSports Photograph

2009 AHL All-Star Daniel Larsson

Photo by JustSports Photograph

y/AHL

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 71


VISIT PHPA.COM Your source for PHPA news, officially licensed collectors items, and PHPA merchandise. PROUD TO REPRESENT PLAYERS IN THE AHL, CHL, AND ECHL

72 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


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Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 73


Tickets

Van Andel Arena

VIP Glass

$32

DAY OF GAME $34

Lower Level Preferred

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$22

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Seats may not be available in all price categories. For season, game-plan and group ticket information, call 616.774.4585 or 1.800.2.HOCKEY.

74 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


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IT ALL STAR

GRIFFINS IN THE NHL

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

1 2 3 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

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MICHIGAN HOCKEY CROSSWORD

There’s a lot more to hockey in the state of Michigan than the Griffins and Red Wings. Including pro teams in the National Hockey League, American Hockey League and ECHL, junior clubs in the Ontario Hockey League, United States Hockey League and North American Hockey League, and college squads in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and Western Collegiate Hockey Association, there are no fewer than 17 high-level teams playing within our borders. How many of their nicknames do you know? ACROSS 2. Michigan (NAHL) 3. Northern Michigan (CCHA) 4. Michigan (CCHA) 6. Lake Superior State (CCHA) 7. Soo (NAHL) 8. Plymouth (OHL) 12. Ferris State (CCHA) 15. Detroit (NHL) 16. Michigan State (CCHA) 17. Kalamazoo (NAHL) DOWN 1. Port Huron (NAHL) 5. Michigan Tech (WCHA) 9. Muskegon (USHL) 10. Western Michigan (CCHA) 11. Kalamazoo (ECHL) 13. Saginaw (OHL) 14. Grand Rapids (AHL)

ACROSS 2. Warriors 3. Wildcats 4. Wolverines 6. Lakers 7. Eagles

Grand Rapids GRIFFINS 79

ANSWERS:

8. Whalers 12. Bulldogs 15. Red Wings 16. Spartans 17. Jr. K-Wings

DOWN 1. Fighting Falcons 5. Huskies 9. 9. Lumberjacks Lumberjacks 10. Broncos

11. Wings 13. Spirit 14. Griffins


PARTING SHOT

East Kentwood High and University of Michigan product Mike Knuble skated with the Griffins during home practices while awaiting a resolution to the National Hockey League’s labor impasse. Knuble, 40, became a free agent this past summer after playing three years with the Washington Capitals. In 15 NHL seasons, Knuble has 274 goals, including a string of eight consecutive seasons with 20 or more goals from 2002-2011. Photo by Mark Newman

80 Grand Rapids GRIFFINS


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2012-13 Griffiti - Issue #3