Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Griffins provide a good reminder that an NHL team’s AHL affiliation is a two-way street

The Grand Rapids Griffins won't have to worry about the course of the Red Wings' last four regular season games, including tonight's tilt against Phoenix, because the Griffins clinched an AHL playoff spot over a week ago.

The Griffins will open their first playoff run in three years when they travel to Houston to kick off a best-of-five first round series against the Aeros on Friday, and the Griffins' Twitter account points us toward an article in which the Grand Rapids Business Journal's David Czurak reports that the Red Wings' AHL affiliate's excellent season--and its first under coach Jeff Blashill--has yielded huge gains in attendance and a very positive bottom line:

It was a good season for the business office, too. The Griffins finished fourth in attendance in the 30-team league by drawing roughly 290,000 to its home games at Van Andel Arena. The club averaged more than 7,600 paying customers per game, topping much larger markets such as Houston, Milwaukee and hockey-crazed Toronto in ticket sales.

“We thought that midway through the season this team could be special. They’re a very good hockey team, well coached with veteran leadership and good character in the room. In early December, the team was in first place and has been there ever since,” said Tim Gortsema, Griffins senior vice president of business operations.

...

“Overall, it was great and was awesome on so many different fronts. In terms of the hockey team, we’ve had a good one that has been competitive all year. So that has been first and foremost. From a ticket-sales standpoint, any of our metrics, I would say, are up,” said Gortsema. “Ticket sales are up probably 7 percent, corporate sales are up 7 or 8 percent. For the first time in the franchise’s history, we’ll do $1 million in group ticket sales, which is a phenomenal threshold to hit. This will be our third consecutive year of attendance increase and it’ll be six out of the last seven,” he added.

“There is only one other team in the American Hockey League that has a better long-term trend line than us. So of the 30 teams in the AHL, Hershey (Pa.) will have an attendance increase this year, and that will be 10 out of 10 for them. After Hershey, we would be the next highest in consistent growth pattern.”

Gortsema said Friday home games probably were the best attended, with the highly popular $1 beer and $1 hot dog promotion from 6-8 p.m. leading the turnstile charge. Saturday games, which also were loaded with promotions, came in a close second. “It’s a weekend-driven league,” he said.

The beer and hot dog promotion will continue at all home playoff games, but the price will rise to $2. Playoff tickets also will go up by $1. It’s an increase the AHL mandates because the players get paid from gate receipts during the Calder Cup run.

Czurak's article continues, and "sometimes we need to be reminded" that the Red Wings' AHL affiliate is a business, just like the parent club, and sometimes when the team chooses to leave certain players in the AHL to take leadership roles and become "overripe" prospects, it makes that decision understanding that the Griffins have to put butts in seats, too.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

OnlyWings's avatar

Pretty excited about the Griffins and their success!!  Looking at the prospects will lead to more very good years for the Griffins,Wings and Walleye.

Pretty modest Hot Dog and ticket price increases for the Playoffs.  Those that are able to see the Griffins and future Wings are lucky.

I think this will filter down to Toledo with the number of good prospects coming through the system.

Great scouting over many years will payoff for one of the best organizations from Top to Bottom.  How things have changed from the 70s and 80s for this Old Wing Fan.

Give it time and there will be exciting results, IMO.

Great stuff George!!!

#GoGriffins #GoWings

Posted by OnlyWings on 04/22/13 at 01:53 PM ET

Avatar

“overripe” prospects, it makes that decision understanding that the Griffins have to put butts in seats, too.

An excuse before tonight’s game ... inventive!  Yeah, that must be why Tatar isn’t playing for Detroit.

Posted by jkm2011 on 04/22/13 at 02:38 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Meh.

A farm team’s purpose is to prepare players for the NHL.

Sure it’s great for the Griffins but the Wings should never sacrifice for them.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 04/22/13 at 02:49 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

Sure it’s great for the Griffins but the Wings should never sacrifice for them.

There is really no room or more importantly playing time, which these prospects need, at this time.

Now if Cleary, Fil, Samuelsson, White, Carlo,  etc are taking up spots with the Wings next year then I agree 100%.  Look at what is happening to the Oilers , who have some great prospects. They are not physically ready to make the jump to the NHL.  Hall, RNH, etc. are getting hurt often and learning how to lose for 7 years so far.

The Wings kids will be with the Big Club when the Wings feel they are ready.

I am frustrated with Fil floating around, Cleary’s body is done, Samuelsson/Carlo/Gustavsson were bad signings, White looked average with Lidstrom.

Some can make the jump as per DeKeyser which is awesome but most are 160 175 lbs and need to bulk up and learn under a good coach in the AHL.

Not trying to start an argument but this Rebuild will take time, I think??

 

 

Posted by OnlyWings on 04/22/13 at 03:06 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Sure it’s great for the Griffins but the Wings should never sacrifice for them.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 04/22/13 at 03:49 PM ET

Trust me, the NHL team never gives up anything for the affiliate.

Do keep in mind though that this is MI.  GR Griffins fans are almost 100% Red Wing fans too.  This isn’t a team in Vancouver and a farm club in Chicago…

Posted by Primis on 04/22/13 at 06:14 PM ET

Avatar

Do keep in mind though that this is MI.  GR Griffins fans are almost 100% Red Wing fans too.  This isn’t a team in Vancouver and a farm club in Chicago…

Which has zero to do with anything.

Posted by Garth on 04/22/13 at 10:02 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.