Grand Rapids Griffins

The Grand Rapids Griffins are an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League. They play in the Van Andel Arena ( 10,834 seats) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. Their club colors are navy blue, red, gold and silver.

  • 2.1 International Hockey League
  • 2.2 American Hockey League
  • 3.1 Sporting achievements
  • 3.2 IHL Awards
  • 3.3 AHL All-Star Team Awards and nominations
  • 3.4 AHL All- Star Classic nominations
  • 3.5 Club Records 3.5.1 American Hockey League career
  • season
  • career
  • season
  • 6.1 Locked jersey numbers
  • 6.2 Known former players


As early as 1949 there were professional hockey in Grand Rapids with the Grand Rapids Rockets, who played until 1956 in the International Hockey League. They were followed in the seventies of the Grand Rapids blades and the Grand Rapids Owls, who were active in the USHL and in the IHL and as a farm team for NHL teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins served. But both teams in 1980 were no longer active. The Grand Rapids Grizzlies were finally time being the last professional team from the city in the state of Michigan, but only completed a full season in the Continental Hockey League, before it was dissolved during the season 1981/82.

In 1996, the Grand Rapids Griffins were finally established and closed, as was the Rockets and the Owls, the IHL to. In the first season, the team was able to establish himself in the league, with players such as goalkeeper Pokey Reddick and the striker Michel Picard, Jeff Nelson and Pavol Demitra particularly stood out.

In the second year the Griffins managed to qualify for the playoffs. The face of the team, however, had changed. Although included with Michel Picard and defender Travis Richards still some players of the previous year the squad in goal but Ian Gordon took over the starting place and also in the other part of the squad, there was change.

The first check had the team in the 1998/99 season suffer when they first did not qualify for the playoffs, but he following season they returned the stronger back. Led by Picard, Vyacheslav Buzajew and Kevin Miller they lost only in the final of the Turner Cup to the Chicago Wolves.

Your strongest season in the IHL they finally played 2000/ 01 and won 53 of 82 games, which she took first place at the end of the regular season. In the semifinals, but they failed at the Orlando Solar Bears. It should be the last season in the IHL at the same time, which was disbanded in the summer of 2001. The Griffins then joined the AHL and denied a good first season, which ended with the departure in the first playoff round. Important support was there Martin Prusek been awarded with the Aldege " Baz " Bastien Award as the best goalkeeper of the season.

For the season 2002/ 03 returned striker Michel Picard, who had contested the last two years with the Philadelphia Phantoms and the Adler Mannheim to the Griffins back and reinforced the offensive, which was shown in the previous season weaknesses. Together with Mark Mowers, he led the attack of the Griffins and was supported by young players like Jason Williams and Tomáš Kopecký, although they were at the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL under contract, but should gain experience in Grand Rapids. After the Griffins had taken second place in the regular season, they moved to the semifinals against the Houston Aeros. The seven games lasting series but won in the end the Texans in Houston. In addition to intensifying the defensive offensive was again very important for the success of the team. Marc Lamothe was, like its predecessor Prusek awarded the Aldege " Baz " Bastien Award as the best goalkeeper and awarded together with substitute goalkeeper Joey MacDonald Harry " Hap " Holmes Memorial Award for the fewest goals.

Following the success of the previous season, the Griffins were unable to continue in 2003/ 04. Although the team played in the defense continue at the high level of the two zuvorigen years, but in attack they shot significantly fewer goals. The season ended in the first round of the playoffs.

The season 2004/ 05 should be the weakest season so far. The team had no clear leader, and the 23- year-old defender Niklas Kronwall was 53 scorer points, the best offensive power, which he with the Eddie Shore Award was also awarded as the best defender in the league. However, the Griffins missed the first time since they played in the AHL the playoffs.

2005/ 06, the Griffins went back to the top of the league. In addition to the experienced Donald MacLean and Eric Manlow it was mainly young players such as Jiri Hudler, Valtteri Filppula Tomáš Kopecký and that stood out. Hudler put scorer with 96 points on a new team record and led the team also as the best scorer to the Conference Finals, while MacLean was awarded the Willie Marshall Award as the top scorer and the Les Cunningham Award as the most valuable player of the season.

In the following season the team had but again suffered a setback when they were able to win 55 games instead of only 37 as last season, which was also the fact that service providers such as Hudler, Filppula Kopecký and were changed in the NHL. Nevertheless, they qualified for the playoffs, where they indeed already the series 3-2 spearheaded against the Manitoba Moose in the first round, but the remaining two games lost and thus were eliminated.

With a new coach, they hoped that in the 2007/ 08 season to return to its former strength and therefore exchanged Greg Ireland against Mike Stothers. But just the opposite was the case. Grand Rapids played until then weakest season in the AHL and missed the playoffs significantly. For the few bright spots mainly ensured the young players.

For the season 2008/ 09, the Grand Rapids Griffins exchanged large parts of the squad and took several young players the Detroit Red Wings on training at on. It was also obliged with a new coach Curt Fraser. The changes in the team showed from the beginning a positive effect and succeeded the Griffins at the top of the league to keep up. Guarantors for recovery were next to the neuverpflichteten Darren Haydar, a former MVP of the AHL, Mattias Ritola, Jakub Kindl and Darren Helm, who were able to increase significantly in its second season as a professional. Also achievers were the veterans Evan McGrath, Jimmy Howard and Ville Leino, who made his debut in North America with 25 years, as well as the newcomers Justin Abdelkader, Francis Paré and Daniel Larsson.

In the 2012/13 season the team won the Calder Cup for the first time after it had defeated in the final series, the Syracuse Crunch in six games.


After the founding of the Griffins in 1996, the franchise initially worked independently before they signed a cooperation agreement with the Ottawa Senators of the NHL and from now on as their farm team functioned, where young players can gain experience in the professional field. Later NHL players, like Chris Neil, Josh Lang field or Jason Spezza therefore went to the beginning of their careers in Grand Rapids on the ice.

The cooperation with the Senators ended in 2002 and the Detroit Red Wings absofort worked with the Griffins together. By training with the Grand Rapids Griffins went Tomáš Kopecký here, Jiri Hudler, Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Kronwall, Brett Lebda, Darren Helm and Derek Meech, who all share in the Stanley Cup victory for the Red Wings in 2008.

In addition to its cooperation with the Detroit Red Wings, they also work with the Toledo Walleye ( ECHL ). In addition to 2008 was a collaboration with the now-defunct Muskegon Fury from the ( IHL ).

Season statistics

International Hockey League

Note: GP = Games, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses by SOL = Shootout Losses by, Pts = Points, GF = Goals Scored, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalty minutes

American Hockey League

Note: GP = Games, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses by SOL = Shootout Losses by, Pts = Points, GF = Goals Scored, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalty minutes

Achievements and honors

Sporting successes

* The Norman R. " Bud " Poile Trophy was until 2003 on the best team awarded the regular season of the West Division. Since 2003 is the best team in the regular season of the Western Conference trophy

The Grand Rapids Griffins have yet to win any playoff championship, collected in the course of its existence, but several trophies and achievements. In the 1999/2000 season they won their first division title and went into the playoffs to the finals to the Turner Cup one, subject to there, however. The following year she won the Fred A. Huber Trophy as the best team in the IHL from the regular season and won another division title.

After the Griffins were changed in the summer of 2001 in the AHL, they won their first game in the same time, the Norman R. " Bud " Poile Trophy as the best team in the West Division and in the following year, the John D. Chick Trophy as the leading team in the Central Division. In addition, they succeeded in gaining the semifinals of the playoffs.

In the season 2005/ 06 more trophies came to collect the Griffins do so. In addition to the Sam Pollock Trophy as Division winners and Norman R. " Bud " Poile Trophy as the best team in the Western Conference, they also won the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy and thus the main rounds of the Championship League. Was continued season by reaching the finals of the Conference playoffs.

IHL Awards

When the Grand Rapids Griffins 1996-2001 in the International Hockey League were active, two members of the team received an individual award. After the season 1999/2000 it was coach Guy Charron, who was honored as the first. He had led the team with 51 wins and 111 points to second place in the league, thus set a franchise record and improved the outcome of the pre-season of 34 wins and 76 points clear. For his work Charron received the Commissioner's Trophy as the best coach of the IHL.

2000/ 01 resulted striker Derek King to the league with 83 points scorer when he scored 32 goals and gave 51 templates. The Leo P. Lamoureux Memorial Trophy as the best scorer of the league he shared with Steve Larouche, who came to points on the same number. Both were the last winners of this trophy, because the IHL ceased the operation of gambling in the summer of 2001.

AHL All-Star Team Awards and nominations

At the end of the first season in the American Hockey League in the summer of 2002, two members of the Grand Rapids Griffins received an individual award. Martin Prusek was awarded the Aldege " Baz " Bastien Award as the best goalkeeper, Bruce Cassidy was awarded the Louis AR Pieri Award as the best coach in the league. In the second year the trophy for the best goalkeeper went to the Griffins, this time to Marc Lamothe, who also assumed along with his substitute Joey MacDonald Harry " Hap " Holmes Memorial Award for the fewest goals.

Niklas Kronwall was 2005, the first court player on the Griffins, which played a ceremony. The Swede was one of the few bright spots in a weak team, which he led as the best scorer. As the first European, he was awarded the Eddie Shore Award for the best defender of the AHL. The following year, an outfield player was honored with Donald MacLean again. MacLean scored league -leading 56 goals in the season and was awarded the Willie Marshall Award as the top scorer, but he had to share with Denis Hamel.

The first player of the Griffins, who were elected to the AHL First All -Star Team, were in the debut season goalkeeper Martin Prusek and defender John Grudden. Marc Lamothe was chosen for the 2002/ 03 season as a goalkeeper in the formation of the best players of the year, while the striker Mark Mowers and Michel Picard found a place in the Second All-Star Team. 2004/ 05 it was the Swedish defender Niklas Kronwall, the jump into the First All -Star team succeeded and the following year he was succeeded striker Donald MacLean. Defender Bryan Helmer and Jiri Hudler attacker came to the second team. Three years later, a player of Griffin was represented in one of the All-Star team, as Darren Haydar was elected to the second team.

In the All- Rookie team, the team with the best Neuprofis, Goalie Jimmy Howard came so far in the 2005/06 season, defender Brendan Smith in the 2010/ 11 and the striker Justin Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist in the season 2008 /09 or. 2011/12.

AHL All- Star Classic nominations

* Cancellation for breach

A total of 20 players in the Grand Rapids Griffins have been invited to the All- Star Classic since they were elected by the fans to the grid or selected by the league on merit. 13 participants in PlanetUSA All-Star team, which is equipped with U.S. and European players, are facing four participants of the Griffins in the Canadian All-Star team. By the fans so far four players were chosen in the starting lineup of the PlanetUSA All-Star teams with Travis Richards, Niklas Kronwall, Jiri Hudler and Jakub Kindl. Kronwall and Hudler are the only players from Grand Rapids who have been invited to two All-Star Classics, but Kronwall was able to participate due to injury on only one game.

2002 were appointed into the existing team of Americans and Europeans PlanetUSA All-Star in the first AHL season, the Griffins with Chris Bala, John Gruden and Martin Prusek three players, but goalkeeper Prusek had to cancel due to injury. The following year, a player from the Griffins for the team's Canadian could with goalkeeper Marc Lamothe for the first time recommend All-Stars, on the part of PlanetUSA All-Star team striker Mark Mowers was represented.

In the 2003 /04 season was with Travis Richards for the first time a player from the Griffins in the starting lineup of all-star teams, as the All-Star Classic was held in the local Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. The Czech Jiří Hudler Richards young players joined the team in the PlanetUSA All-Stars. Nathan Robinson was also in the squad of the Canadian All-Stars, but was injured during the All-Star Classic belonging Super Skills Competition and did not participate in the game. Niklas Kronwall said his participation due to an injury from before. He received in 2005 but a new chance and was in the starting lineup of the PlanetUSA selection while Joey MacDonald for the Canadian selection guarded the gate.

2006 were for the first time three players the Griffins in the All- Star Classic on the ice, as Jiří Hudler played in the starting lineup and Valtteri Filppula on the part of European / American team and Donald MacLean aground for the Canadian team. The following year, however, only one player was represented by the Canadian Derek Meech.

The Swedish defender Jonathan Ericsson and the U.S. goalkeeper Jimmy Howard in 2008 were the representatives of the Griffins, who competed in the team PlanetUSA All-Star. In 2009, Grand Rapids had no players in the Canadian All-Star team, but Jakub Kindl was chosen by the fans in the starting lineup of PlanetUSA and Daniel Larsson takes as a substitute goalkeeper. Acquisitions in the past two years have two players in the Griffins at the All- Star Classic in part, as it was in 2010 with Patrick Rissmiller in the team PlanetUSA only one.

Club Records

American Hockey League


* Active player; State after the 2010/11 season


International Hockey League



Abbreviations: GC = Matches, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Losses after Overtime, Pts = Points, Win % win rate =

* Change during the season

The Griffins dedicated as the first coach in its history, Dave Allison, who in the NHL was in lower leagues next 25 games already for several years. He led the Griffins to a good first result of the season, but had to go for the second year in the second half of the season and was transiently replaced by general manager Bob McNamara. As the new head coach Guy Charron was presented in the summer of 1998, which initially remained unsuccessful and missed the playoffs in his first year. In the 1999/2000 season, the Griffins increased under his leadership, but clearly took second place in the IHL and went to the finals of the playoffs one. Charron subsequently received the Commissioner's Trophy as the best coach of the league and an offer of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim of the NHL, after which he left Grand Rapids.

Bruce Cassidy followed Charron in the summer of 2000, and it succeeded to increase the result of the previous season. With 53 wins from 82 games, he led the Griffins in first place in the regular season but in the playoffs they failed in the second round. After the IHL was disbanded after the season, joined the team in the AHL and Cassidy could immediately establish the Griffins in the League, for which he was awarded the Louis AR Pieri Award as the best coach. Due to the success of the NHL teams became aware of him and he followed a call to the Washington Capitals, where he took over the position as head coach.

With Danton Cole, a former player and assistant coach of the Griffins succeeds by Cassidy. He could build on the achievements of its predecessor and led the team in the same season in 2002/ 03 to the third round of the playoffs. In the following year, the Griffins played a good regular season, but they divorced after the first series of the finals from. Cole's tenure ended after 48 games in the 2004/05 season, when the qualification was at risk for the playoffs and Cole was replaced by his assistant Greg Ireland. Under the new coach though came in the remaining 32 games of the season, a slight increase, but has failed to qualify eventually.

In the season 2005/ 06 Ireland the Griffins helped but to a resurrection. With 55 victories they achieved the best result in franchise history and took first place after the regular season. In the playoffs, they entered into the round of four best teams before they smooth but failed in four games to the Milwaukee Admirals. However, the following season was a step back again and the Griffins reached only as the best team in eight of the 13 teams in the west of the League of the playoffs and did not get past the first round of the playoffs also. The management then decided the expiring contract of Ireland not to renew after the Detroit Red Wings, cooperation partners from the NHL, had obtained the right to decide about the coach of their farm teams.

The Red Wings put Mike Stothers in the summer of 2007 as a new head coach, but the commitment was not crowned with success, as the Griffins played the worst season in their history. The Grand Rapids Griffins received then the right back over the occupation of the coach to decide and gave birth Stothers after only one year of his duties. With Curt Fraser, the team is led by a coach for the 2008/ 09 season, which has already point to several years in the NHL and the Belarusian national team had led to the qualification for the Olympic Hockey Tournament 2010.

As an assistant coach in Grand Rapids, the former NHL player and Stanley Cup winner Jim Paek has been active since 2005.

General Manager

Bob McNamara was committed on 26 January 1996 as general manager of the Grand Rapids Griffins before they contested their first season in the autumn of the same year. Under his leadership, the franchise has established itself as a training center for teams in the National Hockey League and have been in the years cooperations with the Ottawa Senators and the Detroit Red Wings closed. In addition, McNamara led the Griffins from the disbanded International Hockey League in the American Hockey League.

To be mentioned players

Locked jersey numbers

The so far only restricted number of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the jersey number 24 Travis Richards. He was the second player who signed a contract with the Griffins before the premiere season of the franchise in the IHL and played the following ten seasons for the team, three of them as captain, the remaining seven alternative captain. Richards was a fixture in the defense of the team and ended his career in the summer of 2006 as the record holder with 655 games in the jersey of the Griffins in the AHL and IHL.

The blocked numbers on the players hang a banner on the ceiling of the Van Andel Arena and the Grand Rapids Griffins are awarded to no more players.

Well-known former players

Some players went for the Grand Rapids Griffins on the ice before they made the jump to the NHL. Others were sent by their NHL teams to Grand Rapids to gather first match fitness after an injury in a few games.

His first years in North America Pavol Demitra completed mainly in teams in the second-class leagues, including the Grand Rapids Griffins, before he established himself as a NHL player and was repeatedly invited to the NHL All-Star Game. He was also the first player of the franchise, who made ​​the jump to the NHL. Kevyn Adams was in the premiere season of the Griffins to the team and played there his first season as a professional, before ending his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Dmitri Afanassenkow also played at the beginning of his time in North America in Grand Rapids and later crowned his career by winning the Stanley Cup as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Although goalkeeper Patrick Lalime came already with NHL experience in the team, but the final breakthrough came after his time with the former farm team of the Ottawa Senators. Chris Neil and Chris Kelly also spent some time at the farm team until they could prevail in Ottawa.

From the Detroit Red Wings Valtteri Filppula went through, Darren Helm, Jiri Hudler, Tomas Kopecky, Niklas Kronwall, Brett Lebda, Derek Meech and Jason Williams training in Grand Rapids and have won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in consequence.

In addition, players like Chris Chelios, Manny Legace, Chris Osgood and Blake Sloan were on the ice that had won the most coveted trophy in the North American Hockey prior to their involvement in the AHL. But Chelios, Legace and Osgood were only for a few games after injuries of the Griffins. They are supplemented by prominent names such as Curtis Joseph and Jason Spezza, but also only a short time playing for the AHL team.

  • United States Kevyn Adams
  • Russia Dmitri Afanassenkow
  • Canada Sean Avery
  • Canada Joël Bouchard
  • United States Chris Chelios
  • Pavol Demitra Slovakia
  • Canada Matt Ellis
  • Valtteri Filppula of Finland
  • Canada Shane Hnidy
  • Czech Republic Jiří Hudler
  • Finland Jani Hurme
  • Canada Curtis Joseph
  • Canada Chris Kelly
  • Slovakia Tomáš Kopecký
  • Sweden Niklas Kronwall
  • Canada Joel Kwiatkowski
  • Canada Patrick Lalime
  • United States Brett Lebda
  • Manny Legace Canada
  • Canada Derek Meech
  • Canada Glen Metropolit
  • United States Kevin Miller
  • United States Kip Miller
  • United States Mark Mowers
  • Canada Chris Neil
  • Canada Chris Osgood
  • Slovakia Róbert Petrovický
  • Canada Michel Picard
  • Kyle Quincey Canada
  • Czech Republic Karel Rachunek
  • Canada Jamie Rivers
  • United States Blake Sloan
  • Canada Jason Spezza
  • Canada Patrick Traverse
  • Canada Todd White
  • Canada Jason Williams