Commission Gets Director

May 21, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — The fledgling West Michigan Sports Commission hired the director of sports marketing for the Convention and Visitors Bureau as its first executive director last week. At the same time, the CVB announced it had booked another sporting event for the area.

WMSC Chairman Richard Vander Molen revealed that Mike Guswiler was selected to lead the commission in its quest to bring more revenue to the local hospitality industry.

“He has a strong background of securing sports events and he knows West Michigan. We expect that he’ll be able to step right in and keep the momentum going,” said Vander Molen, also a Kent County commissioner, of Guswiler.

Guswiler has been with the CVB for seven years and is responsible for moving next month’s AAU volleyball tournament to DeVos Place. The tourney will be the largest ever held here and the first for the convention center, where 40 courts will be set up.

Guswiler is a native of Petoskey. His last day at the bureau will be June 4.

CVB Vice President of Sales George Helmstead said the American Collegiate Hockey Association will hold its national championship tournament here in March of 2009. The ACHA represents club teams. Grand Valley State and Davenport universities and Hope and Calvin colleges field club teams.

Helmstead said the ACHA will bring about 1,000 visitors to the area and that GVSU coach Dennis McLean played a key role in booking the tournament.

SMG General Manager Rich MacKeigan gave the Grand Rapids Griffins a lot of credit for landing the event, as the ACHA title game will be played at Van Andel Arena prior to a Griffins AHL game.

The ACHA agreed to move its tourney up a week so its title game could be played in the arena. Griffins CEO Dan DeVos has a seat on the WMSC Executive Committee.

Georgetown Ice Arena will host the rest of the ACHA tourney games.    

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