Grand Rapids Griffins Hockey – See Tomorrow’s Detroit Red Wings Stars Today
The Detroit Red Wings have for many years been the face of hockey in Michigan, and with a history that includes 11 Stanley Cup championships and 23 consecutive playoff appearances the nickname of “Hockeytown” has been earned on the east side of the state. Over on the west side of the state, Grand Rapids is known as “Hockeytown West” as its AHL team, the Grand Rapids Griffins, has developed players for the Red Wings since the 2002-03 season. A look at the current Red Wings roster features 22 players who have spent time with the Griffins – only five current players have not.
The past few seasons have seen the Griffins finish near the top of the league in attendance, as they regularly have no problem filling the 10,000 seat Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids. The Griffins captured their first ever Calder Cup championship in 2013, defeating the Syracuse Crunch in six games.
Several popular promotions help bring fans out to games: Friday College Nights features $2 beers and $2 hot dogs, Winning Wednesday provides free tickets to the next home Wednesday game for those in attendance when the Griffins win on Wednesday, and Saturday games feature giveaways (bobbleheads and other team items) as well as post-game skates and autograph sessions. The entire experience is geared towards being very family-friendly, and there’s plenty more than on-ice action to keep children entertained over the course of the evening.
This season the Griffins feature 2013 Red Wings first-round draft pick Anthony Mantha, as well as top prospects Ryan Sproul, Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet and Teemu Pulkkinen. Current Red Wings Jimmy Howard, Niklas Kronwall, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist are just a few of the big names that have sharpened their skills with the Griffins before making it in the NHL. With a record of 19-15-3-1 as of Jan. 15, the Griffins are fourth in the Midwest Division but are in good shape to make a return trip to the playoffs.
Here’s a look at the remaining games and some promotions that may be of interest:
- Winning Wednesday: Jan. 21, Feb. 18, March 4, Apr. 1, Apr. 8
- Friday College Nights: Jan. 23, Feb. 6, Feb. 13, Feb. 20, March 20, Apr. 17
- Giveaways: Superhero Lunch Box Jan. 24 (12 & under), texting gloves Jan. 31, Mitch Callahan bobblehead Feb. 7, jersey scarf Feb. 13, cereal bowl March 14, Tomas Jurco bobblehead Apr. 4
- Star Wars night is Feb. 21, Bring Your Dog to the Game night is March 22
Van Andel Arena: 130 Fulton Street West, Grand Rapids, MI 49503