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GRIFFINS MOVE TO NORTH DIVISION

Fifteen Opponents to be Featured on 2005-06 Schedule

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.
– The Grand Rapids Griffins will find themselves among new company and facing several new foes when they embark upon their tenth anniversary season this October.

After competing in the West Division during three of their first four seasons in the American Hockey League, the Griffins have moved to the North Division for the 2005-06 campaign. Grand Rapids joins Cleveland, Hamilton, Manitoba, Rochester, Syracuse and Toronto in a new divisional alignment that was announced today at the AHL Board of Governors’ annual meeting at Amelia Island, Fla.

The move reunites the Griffins with Rochester, Syracuse and Cleveland, which were among their counterparts in 2002-03 when Grand Rapids claimed the Central Division title.

While the Griffins will play 44 of their 80 regular season games versus North Division opponents, they’ll maintain a 32-game slate against their traditional rivals from the West Division. In all, Grand Rapids will face 15 of the AHL’s 26 other teams, matching the most diverse schedule of its five seasons in the league.

Each of the AHL’s four new teams – the Iowa Stars, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, Peoria Rivermen and Toronto Marlies – will visit Van Andel Arena this season. Grand Rapids’ frequency of games against each AHL opponent is as follows: 10 games (five home, five road) versus Cleveland; eight games (four home, four road) versus Hamilton, Manitoba and Milwaukee; six games (three home, three road) versus Rochester, Syracuse and Toronto; four games (two home, two road) versus Chicago, Houston, Iowa, Omaha, Peoria and San Antonio; and two games (one home, one road) versus Hershey and Philadelphia.

The schedule for the AHL’s 70th season, which will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 12, is expected to be announced in late July.

At the conclusion of the 2005-06 regular season, the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs will feature the top four teams in each of the four divisions, with one possible exception: if the fifth-place team in the seven-team Atlantic Division finishes with more points than the fourth-place team in the six-team East Division, it would cross over and compete in the East Division playoffs. The postseason format will again feature a divisional playoff, leading to conference finals and ultimately the Calder Cup Finals. All rounds will comprise best-of-seven series.

The Griffins will host their home opener on Saturday, Oct. 15. Group tickets, along with full season, 20-game, 10-game and five-game ticket packages, are available by calling the Griffins at (616) 774-4585 or (800) 2-HOCKEY.

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