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"Bulldog Showcase" Coming to Griff's IceHouse

Sep 07, 2018
Written By: Randy Cleves

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Ferris State University men’s ice hockey team will visit Griff’s IceHouse at Belknap Park (30 Coldbrook NE) on Sunday, Sept. 23 from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. for the first-ever Bulldog Showcase, presented by the Griffins Youth Foundation and Buffalo Wild Wings.

The centerpiece of this inaugural event will be Ferris State’s Crimson vs. Gold skills development game from 1-2 p.m. on the west rink. Both the intrasquad game and a subsequent autograph session with Bulldogs players are free and open to the public.

The remainder of the Bulldog Showcase features private activities focused on the Griffins Youth Foundation’s players and coaches. As a tailgate for foundation families takes place in the Griff’s IceHouse parking lot from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., two-time NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Coach of the Year Bob Daniels will conduct a clinic for 50 foundation coaches from noon-1 p.m. Following the Crimson vs. Gold game, Bulldogs players and coaches will hold an on-ice clinic for 80 fourth-through-12th-grade players from the foundation from 2-3 p.m., spanning both of the facility’s ice sheets.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to work with the Griffins Youth Foundation to support and promote youth hockey in the Grand Rapids area,” said Daniels. “Many of our student-athletes have benefited from organizations similar to the foundation and they are really looking forward to giving back to the sport they love.”

Established in 1995, the Griffins Youth Foundation promotes academic excellence, community involvement and healthy lifestyles among the youth of West Michigan, enhancing their lives through hockey and ice-related sports. The foundation’s programs serve 350 boys and girls – many of whom are underprivileged, at-risk, underserved or have other special needs – and currently include co-ed hockey for first-through-12th graders and a girls-only division, as well as the Grand Rapids Sled Wings sled hockey team for children and teens with physical disabilities.

“For many years, Ferris State University has taken a special interest in the foundation’s players and families,” said Lou Rabaut, past president and longtime coach and volunteer for the Griffins Youth Foundation and a co-organizer of the Bulldog Showcase. “Many of our players have gone on to be the first in their families to go to college, and they were inspired to do so because of their interactions with Ferris State. This event is just one more show of commitment by the university to our players and to the kids of West Michigan.”

Ferris State hockey has many ties to the Grand Rapids Griffins organization, most notably former Griffins and current Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, who teamed up with Frozen Four team captain Chad Billins to win the 2013 Calder Cup. Other former Bulldogs who continued on to play for the Griffins include Kyle Bonis, Rob Collins, Scott Czarnowczan, John Gruden, Pat Mazzoli and Pat Nagle.

Ferris State is set to embark upon its 44th season of varsity hockey in October, and enters having brought in an exciting class of newcomers including the reigning British Columbia Hockey League defenseman of the year, a junior league scoring leader and overseas talent, in addition to returning more than 70 percent of the team’s goal-scoring from a year ago.

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