Celebrating their 21st season, our beloved minor league hockey team, the Grand Rapids Griffins are currently in the race for their second Calder Cup. They currently lead the San Jose Barracuda 2-1 in the Western Conference Finals. Grab a stick, net and puck and come with us as we take a look at the history of the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Founded in 1996, the Griffins started playing at Grand Rapids’ brand-new, state-of-the-art Van Andel Arena. The Griffins have found great success and have been one of minor league hockey’s storied franchises. Formerly affiliated with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, the Griffins have been aligned with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings since 2002. The Griffins play in the American Hockey League against such division foes as the Chicago Wolves, the Cleveland Monsters, the Milwaukee Admirals and the Rockford IceHogs. Being teamed with the revered Red Wings has helped the Griffins build a solid fanbase and has led to much success. The Griffins won the AHL’s Calder Cup in 2013, by defeating the Syracuse Crunch in six games.
During their 21-year history, the Griffins have had many famous players come through and don the Griffins jersey. The most notable players to play for the Griffins include Chris Osgood, Jimmy Howard, Justin Abdelkader, Chris Chelios, Valtteri Fippula, Jiri Hudler, Niklas Kronwall and Darren McCarty. By far, the most revered player to ever suit up for the Griffins was Michel Picard. Picard played professional hockey for 24 years, and played with the Griffins for six seasons. Picard is the career leader in goals, assists and points.
If you are interested in coming to a Griffins game, their season usually runs between mid-October and mid-May (unless they are in the playoffs). The Van Andel Arena seats around 10,000 people, so there are plenty of seating options. Tickets are fairly affordable, and average around $10-$30. Many of those in-the-know come on Friday nights for $2.00 beers and $2.00 hot dogs.
Do you have any memorable experiences about the Grand Rapids Griffins? Do you have any tips for fans? Tell us about them!