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GRIFFINS BEAT OUT NHL, NBA TEAMS FOR PRESTIGIOUS VIDEO AWARD

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins’ “LEGO – I Wanna Drive the Zamboni” video won a Golden Matrix Award for Best Music Video at the 2017 Information Display and Entertainment Association (IDEA) conference, held this week in Philadelphia.

The Griffins, whose video was chosen over finalist entries from the St. Louis Blues and the Atlanta Hawks, became the first “minor league” team since 2006 to win a Golden Matrix Award in any category and the first ever to win Best Music Video since that award’s inception in 1989. The team was also one of three finalists in the category last year, alongside the Hawks and the Edmonton Oilers.

“LEGO – I Wanna Drive the Zamboni” was the creation of four members of the Griffins’ staff: Phil Cronin, director of game operations; Michael King, digital media producer; Michael Spruit, digital media production assistant; and Geoff Rizor, video production intern. The stop-motion video was one of three created for the team’s “Toy Night” on Feb. 18, 2017, which together compiled and required some impressive statistics:

  • 13,562 toy bricks used, including 137 mini-figures;
  • 3,916 photos taken;
  • 24,000+ individual movements;
  • 225 man-hours;
  • Five days of filming and seven days of editing.

Cronin attended the IDEA conference in Philadelphia and proudly accepted the award on behalf of the Griffins.

“I’ve long believed that our staff is among the best in all of sports, and the recognition via this significant award from IDEA certainly validates that belief,” said Tim Gortsema, president of the Griffins. “Being a finalist in this category in consecutive years against NHL and NBA teams with significantly larger staffs and budgets is a strong testament to the quality and talent of the front office staff working at the Griffins.”

The Golden Matrix Award is the latest in a string of honors for the Griffins’ game operations department in recent years, as the franchise won the American Hockey League’s Team Business Services Award for Fan Experience (Western Conference) in both 2016 and 2010.

IDEA annually recognizes superior achievement throughout the large screen video and matrix display industry by awarding its Golden Matrix Awards at the annual IDEA conference. The purpose of the awards is to recognize artistic and technical excellence in the programming of large screen video and matrix displays located at stadiums, arenas, racetracks, convention centers and other public assembly facilities.

Founded in 1983, IDEA has been the leading professional association for members of the game operations industry for over 30 years. Through its various offerings, the organization seeks to foster, cultivate and maintain the high professional, educational, creative, and technical standards of its members in all areas of game presentation.