The Grand Rapids Griffins has been the Detroit Red Wings’ American Hockey League affiliate since 2002 and that relationship will continue at least five more seasons.
The Red Wings and Griffins jointly announced the five-year extension of their 20-year affiliation. It is the sixth longest among NHL teams. The Boston Bruins’ 30-year partnership with the Providence Bruins is the NHL’s longest.
“The winning culture established by the Griffins is extremely beneficial for the development of our young players and the fans in Grand Rapids do a tremendous job creating an exciting atmosphere to support the growth of our players,” Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said.
Although the Grand Rapids Griffins missed the playoffs last season, they team has consistently been a highly competitive team. They won the Calder Cup championship in 2013 and 2017. The Griffins have an impressive downtown arena and have a strong community profile. Red Wings’ management appreciates that it takes just over two hours to drive from Detroit to Grand Rapids.
That allows for timely call-ups and ease for upper management to monitor the progress of prospects.
“Grand Rapids continues to be a model franchise both on and off the ice,” Yzerman said.
Red Wings assistant general manager Shawn Horcoff also serves as GM of the Griffins. One of the Red Wings’ objectives is to keep the Griffins highly competitive to assure their prospects have the right environment.
Since the partnership began, 112 different players have worn the Griffins jersey and then went on to play for the Red Wings. Last season, the Red Wings used 38 players and 19 had played for Grand Rapids. The Griffins could have a host of Red Wings’ prospects this year, including Elmer Soderblom, Albert Johansson, Chase Pearson. Donovan Sebrango, Jared McIsaac and Wyatt Newpower.
“Steve Yzerman, Shawn Horcoff and the entire Red Wings organization are great partners. We look forward to exciting and competitive hockey in Detroit and Grand Rapids over the next five years.” said Scott Gorsline, executive vice president of DP Fox and COO/alternate governor for the Griffins.
Grand Rapids was the farm team for the Ottawa Senators before switching to the Red Wings.
In the Griffins’ 20 years with the Red Wings, they not only won two league champions, but also earned one regular-season championship, five conference finals appearances, 11 playoff berths (in 18 postseasons, including a franchise-record seven straight from 2013 through 2019), and four division titles.