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Griffins & Sled Wings Game Returns Thursday

Feb 19, 2024
Written By: Andrew Streitel

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins and Grand Rapids Sled Wings will play their 17th annual sled hockey game presented by Meijer this Thursday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. at Griff’s IceHouse at Belknap Park (30 Coldbrook St. NE).

The doors will open at 5 p.m. Prior to the game, fans can try out a sled on the ice for a minimum $1 donation (5-5:45 p.m.) and get autographs from their favorite Griffins players (5:10-5:40 p.m.). The 6 p.m. game will consist of two 20-minute periods with a running clock and brief intermission.

The opposing sled hockey teams will feature a mix of players from both the Griffins and the Junior Sled Wings, while a few local media personalities will also join the fun by taking shifts on the ice.

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5 per person or $20 per family. Children two and younger are free, and donations are welcome.

The Junior Sled Wings, a talented team of children and young adults with physical disabilities, are sponsored by the Griffins Youth Foundation in partnership with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation. They became the first junior-level sled hockey team in Michigan upon their founding in 2001 and have gained a national reputation by winning various prestigious tournaments and developing six players for U.S. National Teams. The Sled Wings won their second national championship in 2022 and have finished as national runners-up four times, while goaltender Taggart VanderMolen has been a member of the U.S. National Sled Hockey program since 2018, when he became the youngest netminder ever to be named to the team at the age of 15.

The 17th annual Griffins & Sled Wings Sled Hockey Game is presented by Meijer and sponsored by Acrisure, the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports, and Smallegan Real Estate. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Sled Wings and the Griffins Youth Foundation.

Sled hockey rules are virtually identical to traditional hockey, except participants sit on bladed sleds. Players use shortened hockey sticks with a blade on one end and a pick (similar to a toe-pick on a figure skate) on the other end, which enables them to propel themselves across the ice. As in traditional hockey, checking, penalties and hard shots are all abundant in sled hockey.

Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins