Oct. 19, 2012
by Kelsey Perras - griffinshockey.com
Triston Grant wasn’t exactly in an unfamiliar location when the puck dropped last weekend at Van Andel Arena to begin the 2012-13 season, but the veteran said it was certainly nice to be on the other side of the bench, for a change.
“It’s a tough building to come in to,” said Grant. “It’s intimidating, so it’s going to be nice to be on the good guys’ side this time.”
The 6-foot-1, 218-pound left wing known for his physical game and ability to drop his gloves, but he has proven over his career that he’s a capable scorer, with three AHL seasons of 10 or more goals. Even in the team’s first game against the Milwaukee Admirals, he launched a shot from the top of the circles on an odd-man rush that beat the goaltender cleanly, but clanked off the post.
Grant spent the 2011-12 season playing for Oklahoma City, where he helped the Barons to a regular season Western Conference championship. After being a big part of the reason Oklahoma City made it as far as they did last year, Grant believes that he has even more to bring to his new team after signing witht he Grand Rapids Griffins this summer.
“Going to the Western Conference Finals was a lot of hard work, and I’m ready to do that again,” said Grant. “I’m ready to play an even bigger part than I did in Oklahoma.”
Coming off one of his strongest seasons offensively, with 15 points (11-4—15) in 53 games, he hopes to continue to expand his offensive role while maintaining the role that he’s best known for.
“Just play simple,” Grant said. “Shoot the puck, go to the net hard and play physical. When I play physical, space opens up not only for me, but for my teammates. It’s about playing smart, and it’s always a team-first process.”
An eighth-year pro, Grant has spent time with several organizations, making stops with Milwaukee, Rochester, Oklahoma City and the Philadelphia Phantoms in the AHL and spending 11 games in the NHL with Philadelphia and Nashville. Grant has only been in Grand Rapids for a few weeks, but he was quick to realize that West Michigan is an above-average destination around the AHL.
“This is arguably one of the best places I’ve played,” said the Neepawa, Manitoba, native. “There is a lot of energy, it’s electric and it’s a tough building to come in to.”
Because of his experience, Grant slots in as one of the veterans on this year’s young Griffins team, whose average player is roughly five years younger than Grant.
“I’m not really a big talker, I’m a believer that talk is cheap, it’s more about my actions on and off the ice that make me a leader.”
As far as his team goals this year, the one at the top of Grant’s list is to pick up where he left off with the Barons and do whatever it takes to help get the Griffins into the playoffs.
“It was a good feeling still being on the ice in early June last year,” he said. “I know this team has struggled in past years getting into the playoffs, so that is going to be our first step, and we want home ice advantage. It’s going to be a long process of baby steps, but I’m looking forward to being a part of the success.”