09/30/2010 8:00 AM
September 30, 2010
by Karen Patterson - griffinshockey.com
The Grand Rapids Griffins want to know: where will you be October 8?
Hopefully the answer to that question is at Van Andel Arena, as the team will be striving for its remarkable 15th straight home opening sellout crowd.
Since the team’s inception in 1996, a throng of 10,834 has made its way to The Van every opening night to witness the Griffins kick off another season. As Grand Rapids heads into its milestone campaign, senior vice president of business operations Tim Gortsema hopes the tradition will continue.
“The Griffins are extremely proud of our consecutive streak of 14 home-opener sellouts – hopefully, soon to be 15,” said Gortsema. “That streak is not only a testament to the yeoman-like efforts of our staff, but more importantly a reflection of the tremendous support that the West Michigan community has provided to the Griffins since Day 1.”
Fans won’t have to wait long to begin experiencing the high-energy entertainment of the 2010-11 season, as the Oct. 8 opener against the Abbotsford Heat will include an extended pre-game show that can’t be found anywhere else.
After the first 7,500 to arrive receive Griffins glow bams, fans will be treated to a laser light show during the player introductions, courtesy of Lasertainment, and fan favorite John Walker will belt out both the Canadian and American national anthems.
And as if that wasn’t enough incentive, bucket drummer Peter Rabbit will be on hand to accompany a commemorative video to mark the start of the team’s 15th season.
The ever-changing world of sports and outside impacts both have kept the Griffins staff on its toes when it comes to putting people in the seats. Director of game operations Rich Meyers is always looking to re-invent the game-night atmosphere.
“We’re always looking for new ways to get the crowd involved at the game,” Meyers said. “Whether it’s interacting on our Facebook page, or doing a staff t-shirt toss during intermission, we want it to be an experience that everyone from the season ticket-holder to the person who’s never seen a hockey game can enjoy.”
Rather than just having big giveaways at a handful of games throughout the year, the Griffins hope to provide fans with a unique experience at all 40 home games this season.
“No matter what night a fan comes, we want to make sure that something is going on every game,” Meyers added. “Whether it’s a Sunday afternoon or a Friday night, there is something exciting worth coming out for.”
Featured on the home opener, the fan-favorite Dollar Beer Dollar Dogs promotion returns for all Friday night games this season, as well as $1 soft drinks and $1 Cole’s breadsticks on Sundays. Additionally, each Sunday game will feature Jersey Card giveaways and customized Griffins and hockey CrazyBands for the kids.
Winning Wednesdays is also back for the 2010-11 campaign, while many giveaways will be featured on Saturdays throughout the season as well.
Enhancing the ambiance surrounding fans at home games this season will be the addition of a state-of-the-art LED ribbon that will circle the entire arena.
“The LED ribbon is a big investment,” Meyers said. “It gives the Griffins a real major-league feel, and we’re excited to have another way to provide a great experience for the fans.”
As excitement builds for the home opener, the Griffins feel the on-ice product will be much improved this season as well. Despite the team not making the playoffs last year, this season promises to be an exciting one.
“We feel really good about the team,” Gortsema said. “Some strong veteran players are back and it’s going to be a more competitive team.”
And the best way to experience that competitiveness is live.
“People can go spend $9 or $10 on a movie, but they won’t get the same three-hour plus entertainment that they will at a Griffins game,” Meyers said. “HDTV has done a lot for the game of hockey, but the best way to experience it is live. More than ever people are looking for a good value. I hope people recognize that with the Griffins, they’ll get the most bang for their buck.”
With just over a week left until the first puck drops, fans still have an opportunity to be a part of an unforgettable experience. Tickets for the home opener can be purchased by clicking here, or by calling the Griffins office at 774-4585.
There is only one home opener each season, and this year’s is not one that fans will want to miss. To view the complete promotion information for the Oct. 8 home opener, click here.
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