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WINNERS NAMED IN ANNUAL JERSEY DESIGN CONTEST

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.Jason Villanti of Sayre, Pa., and Fraser Davidson of London, England, have been selected as the winners of the Grand Rapids Griffins’ third annual jersey design contest. Their creations were chosen from a record 119 entries submitted during the summer contest conducted by PuckDrawn.com.

Villanti’s design, which will be worn by the Griffins during their 15th annual New Year’s Eve game, depicts a fierce, roaring griffin in blue, gray and white, with its wings spread wide. The predominantly white jersey features blue yokes and arms, with red and gray stripes.

Winner2.jpgDavidson’s jersey is distinguished by a European look reminiscent of the continent’s sports teams. White with subtle blue and red stripes, its logo is centered around a gold griffin whose inspiration is rooted in heraldry and the depictions of creatures in traditional, national emblems. Coincidentally, but appropriately, the United Kingdom-born jersey will be donned by the Griffins on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17, 2012).

Following their respective games, Villanti’s jersey will be auctioned to the public to benefit the Grand Valley State University club roller hockey team, while auction proceeds from Davidson’s jersey will go to PennyBen & American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge.

Pending some minor adjustments, both designs will be submitted to the American Hockey League and Reebok for approval. In recognition of their winning entries, Villanti and Davidson will each receive a customized jersey of his design along with an assortment of Griffins merchandise.

“The entries we’ve received have gotten better and better each year,” said Rich Meyers, the Griffins’ director of game operations. “It was proving impossible to choose a winner once we whittled it down to these two, so we added the St. Patty’s Day game as a second date for the contest. I can’t wait to see our players skate out in these sweaters.”

Villanti, the owner of REDPIN Design, has 15 years of design experience, specializing in footwear. He has recently branched out into sports logos and branding, working with high school teams and organizations in both New York and Pennsylvania.

Davidson, the contest’s first-ever international winner, is currently a freelance director and designer in animation. His clients have included Nike, Sony, Coke and Guinness, and he’s created logos for teams in a variety of sports, including rugby, hockey, American football and Australian rules football.

Last year’s contest winner was Ryan Muraro of Waukesha, Wisc., whose dramatic vision of a vigilant, muscular Griff was chosen from 97 entries. During 2009-10, the competition’s first season, designs by Grand Rapids artists Brian Oesch and Chad B. Stilson were chosen from more than 50 entries.

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