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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
Detroit Red Wings
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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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80