07/25/2022 at 10:31am EDT
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings and American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins today announced a five-year extension of their affiliation agreement. The Red Wings will continue their 20-year partnership with the Griffins through at least the 2026-27 season.
The 20-year-old affiliation has covered the most successful run in Griffins’ franchise history, highlighted by the first two championships in the history of professional hockey in Grand Rapids in 2013 and 2017. Additionally, the proximity between the two teams makes it one of the most convenient NHL/AHL partnerships, as Little Caesars Arena is located just 157 miles away from Van Andel Arena, home to the Griffins since the franchise’s inception in 1996-97.
“Grand Rapids continues to be a model franchise both on and off the ice and we’re excited to continue our partnership,” said Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman. “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.”
The Red Wings will continue to oversee the Griffins’ day-to-day hockey operations, led by Red Wings Assistant General Manager Shawn Horcoff, who also serves as the Griffins’ general manager. Detroit is also responsible for providing Grand Rapids with its playing roster, through NHL-contracted players and AHL-only contracts, and also supplies its coaching staff, equipment managers and athletic trainers.
Since the Red Wings and Griffins originally affiliated prior to the 2002-03 season, 112 players have gone on to skate with the Red Wings after suiting up for the Griffins, including 19 of the 38 players who played in at least one game for Detroit in 2021-22. In all, nine members of the Red Wings’ opening-night roster were former Griffins players: forwards Tyler Bertuzzi, Dylan Larkin, Michael Rasmussen, Givani Smith and Filip Zadina; and defensemen Danny DeKeyser, Filip Hronek, Gustav Lindstrom and 2021-22 Calder Memorial Trophy recipient Moritz Seider. Four players who skated for the Red Wings last season also featured on the Griffins’ championship team in 2017, as Bertuzzi and Hronek were joined by forward Kyle Criscuolo and defenseman Dan Renouf, while DeKeyser was a part of the Griffins’ Calder Cup-winning squad in 2013.
“We are excited that the 20-year relationship between the Griffins and the Red Wings, one of the premier NHL/AHL partnerships, is continuing,” said Scott Gorsline, executive vice president of DP Fox and COO/alternate governor for the Griffins. “Steve Yzerman, Shawn Horcoff and the entire Red Wings organization are great partners, and we look forward to exciting and competitive hockey in Detroit and Grand Rapids over the next five years.”
The Griffins qualified for the AHL’s postseason in seven-straight years from 2013-19, marking the longest run in franchise history, and have accumulated a 383-250-35-35 regular-season record since 2012-13, which is tied for the third-most wins by any AHL franchise in that period. The Griffins are also one of just two teams to reach at least the second round of the AHL playoffs in five-straight seasons since the league expanded to 16 playoff teams in 2005, and they are one of three active AHL teams to win two Calder Cups in a five-year span. Off the ice, the team has averaged 7,000-or-more fans in 13 consecutive seasons (excluding the 2020-21 campaign) and ranked third in AHL attendance in 2021-22.
In the 20-year history of the affiliation, the Red Wings have won one Stanley Cup (2008), reached the conference finals three times (2007, 2008, 2009) and won three Presidents’ Trophies (2004, 2006, 2008) and seven division championships (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011), while the Griffins have captured two Calder Cups (2013, 2017), advanced to the conference finals five times (2003, 2006, 2013, 2015, 2017) and won one Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy for best AHL regular-season record (2006) and four division titles (2003, 2006, 2013, 2015).