Griffins celebrating Calder Cup championship
The Grand Rapids Griffins are champions of the American Hockey League.
The team won the franchise’s second Calder Cup on Tuesday night at Van Andel Arena, in what Griffins broadcaster Bob Kaser called the “biggest event in the history of Grand Rapids sports.”
The franchise first won the cup in 2013.
Grand Rapids is the fifth active AHL franchise to win multiple Calder Cup titles.
With home-ice advantage in the 2017 Calder Cup Finals, the Griffins won the first two games at Van Andel Arena, but lost two of three in Syracuse. Back at Van Andel for game six, the Griffins came from behind in the third period with a game-tying goal by Tyler Bertuzzi and a game-winning goal by Martin Frk.
The Griffins also beat the Crunch in the 2013 finals, but clinched the series in Syracuse, New York.
To make it to the finals this year, the Griffins beat the Milwaukee Admirals in the first round of the playoffs, 3-0, Chicago Wolves in the conference semi-finals, 4-1, and San Jose Barracuda in the Western Conference Finals, 4-2.
Bertuzzi won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Bertuzzi set the franchise record with 23 career playoff goals, including nine this year. He had 19 points, including his 10 assists, in the 19 playoff games this season.
Mitch Callahan, Brian Lashoff and Nathan Paetsch were each on the 2013 team that also won the Calder Cup.
Head Coach Todd Nelson — who was the Griffins’ first player in 1996 — was the third person to win the cup as a player and a coach. He won the cup in 1994 with Portland.
Griffins majority owner Dan DeVos also won a championship with a Grand Rapids team when the Grand Rapids Rampage, an arena football team, won the Arena Bowl in 2001.
Parade and rally
The Griffins will host a parade in downtown Grand Rapids on Friday and a public rally at Rosa Parks Circle.
The parade will start on Ottawa Street next to Van Andel Arena and finish at Rosa Parks Circle.
Griffins players and coaches will ride in Fox Ford pickups in the team’s colors and a Zamboni.
At the rally, a video board will show clips of the championship-winning game, and the event will feature giveaways of more than 2,500 shirts, as well as a presentation of each member of the team.