via the PR department of the Grand Rapids Griffins,
Lost: Season 24: On March 12, the American Hockey League announced the suspension of play until further notice, effective immediately, due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 16, the AHL advised its clubs that the indefinite suspension of AHL play would not be lifted before May and the league recommended that teams facilitate the return of AHL players to their primary residences. On May 11, the AHL announced that the league’s Board of Governors had voted to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season and the 2020 Calder Cup Playoffs due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. Albeit shortened, the Grand Rapids Griffins, under second-year head coach Ben Simon, completed the franchise’s 24th overall season of play, 19th as a member of the AHL and 18th as the primary affiliate of the 11-time Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings with a 29-27-3-4 record (65 pts.), including 15-11-2-3 at Van Andel Arena and 14-16-1-1 on the road, and a third-place finish in the Central Division. Grand Rapids has competed in 1,881 regular season games between the International Hockey League and AHL since 1996-97 and totaled a 994-683-27-61-116 record (0.583) to go along with seven division titles and two Calder Cup championships (2017, 2013).
Statement from AHL Following Cancellation: “After a lengthy review process, the American Hockey League has determined that the resumption and completion of the 2019-20 season is not feasible in light of current conditions. The League’s operational focus has turned toward actively preparing for the 2020-21 season. We are very grateful to the National Hockey League and its teams for their support and leadership in navigating through the challenges faced over the past two months. The AHL continues to place paramount importance on the health and safety of our players, officials, staff and fans and all of their families, and we all look forward to returning to our arenas in 2020-21.”
Would Have Counted: Grand Rapids finished third in the Central Division alongside a 0.516 points percentage and was in position to extend its franchise record with an eighth consecutive berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs. This would have been the franchise’s 18th overall qualification for the postseason. Eight consecutive seasons in the Calder Cup Playoffs would have tied for the longest active streak in the AHL with Providence, who led the Atlantic Division with a 0.661 points percentage when play was halted.
Bill LeRoy (1963-2019): Griffins video coach Bill LeRoy unexpectedly passed away on Friday, Nov. 1 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, after a lifelong battle with Type 1 diabetes. A valued member of the Griffins’ coaching staff since 2001, Bill was a key contributor to the team’s success on the ice for nearly two decades. Bill’s impact upon the organization endures and he is incredibly missed.
Follow the Leader(s)
Points: Terry (51), Puempel (39), Ford/Hirose/Hicketts (27)
Goals: Terry (21), Puempel (17), Svechnikov/Veleno (11)
Assists: Terry (30), Hicketts (25), Hirose/Puempel (22)
PIM: Smith (75), McIlrath (73), Svechnikov (61)
Plus/Minus: Elson (+8), Turgeon (+7), Lashoff (+6)
GP: Turgeon (63), Elson (61), Pearson (59)
PPG: Terry (11), Puempel/Svechnikov (6), Tangradi/Zadina (5)
PPA: Puempel (14), Hicketts (13), Terry (12)
Goalies: GP, Record, GAA, SV%
Pat Nagle: 20, 9-8-1, 2.32, 0.920
Calvin Pickard: 33, 17-12-4, 2.86, 0.903