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Wings, Griffins extend affiliation

New agreement runs through 2016-17 season

Wednesday, 03.7.2012 / 11:44 AM ET / Press Release
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Wings, Griffins extend affiliation
Joey MacDonald is among a slew of Griffins' players who have contributed on the NHL level with the Red Wings. (Photo by Getty Images)
DETROIT – The Red Wings and their minor-league affiliate have finalized a new deal, which will extend the working agreement between the two organizations through at least the 2016-17 season.

The Grand Rapids Griffins have been the primary minor-league affiliate of the Wings for the past 10-years, and the clubs are currently in the final season of their second five-year deal, which has helped produce a Stanley Cup, as well as an American Hockey League regular-season championship, along with multiple division titles for both teams.
 
Geographically, with the teams located 160 miles apart, the affiliation is among the closest of all AHL-NHL pairings. That proximity has proved beneficial for Detroit on many occasions, as the Griffins have sent 46 players on to Hockeytown since 2002.
 
“The American League is critical for all NHL teams, and having a great relationship with Grand Rapids helps keep up competitive,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We’re all thrilled with our arrangement. As a former minor league player myself, it’s exciting to see 8,000 to 10,000 fans and a great atmosphere in the building each night. It’s a wonderful city and there is terrific support from the community as well as the ownership. It’s a real positive environment for our young players.”
 
Among other benefits to the Griffins, the new agreement transfers responsibility for all players and hockey operations staff, including coaches, equipment managers and trainers, to the Wings. Already, Detroit’s assistant general managers, Jim Nill and Ryan Martin, have been overseeing the Griffins’ day-to-day hockey operations since the departure of longtime Grand Rapids general manager Bob McNamara last summer. 
 
Also, the Griffins will play their first-ever outdoor game as part of the Wings “Hockeytown Winter Festival” at Comerica Park in December, hosting the Toronto Marlies in the lead-up to the 2013 NHL Winter Classic between the Wings and Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium.
 
“We are proud to continue our partnership with one of the premier organizations in professional sports,” said Scott Gorsline, the Griffins’ chief operating officer. “Detroit is committed to developing its prospects in a winning environment. Given the Red Wings’ complete oversight of our hockey operations and their talented management team, we are confident that their remarkable ability to produce a Stanley Cup contender season after season will result in similar success for us at the AHL level.”
 
Over the last decade, the Griffins have won a pair of division titles and have twice advanced to the conference finals, most notably in 2005-06 when they captured the AHL’s Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as regular season champions.
 
Griffins’ fans have welcomed the Wings to Van Andel Arena for several events, including four Red & White intrasquad games – most recently in 2011 – and a “Wings for Lunch” practice in 2007. In addition, they’ve had the opportunity to watch stars such as Chris Chelios, Curtis Joseph, Manny Legace, Andreas Lilja and Chris Osgood play for the Griffins during conditioning stints. Other NHL veterans have been sent to bolster Grand Rapids’ lineup over time, including Ty Conklin, who has guided the Griffins to a 5-1 record since joining the club last month.
 
For the Wings, the impact of the affiliation has been unmistakable on the ice at Joe Louis Arena. The names of nine Grand Rapids alumni are engraved on the Stanley Cup from  Detroit’s 2008 title, and 15 current or former Griffins played a part in the Wings’ recent NHL record-breaking 23-game home winning streak. Every game during that incredible run was backstopped by one of the Griffins’ top two all-time leaders in wins (Jimmy Howard or Joey MacDonald), and in each of the last five games during the streak, the majority of Wings who played were Griffins alumni.
 
In all, 19 of the 30 players who’ve skated for the parent club this season are former or current Griffins, and 12 Detroit regulars – Howard, MacDonald, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl, Niklas Kronwall, Kyle Quincey, Justin Abdelkader, Cory Emmerton, Valtteri Filppula, Darren Helm, Jiri Hudler and Jan Mursak – logged at least one complete season in Grand Rapids prior to earning a full-time job with the Wings.
 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 52 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 53 9 27 3 36
T. Tatar 52 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 53 14 15 -2 29
P. Datsyuk 38 8 20 12 28
J. Abdelkader 53 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 39 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 49 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 20 10 4 .933 1.97
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89