GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Griffins fans have come to the Van Andel Arena for 17 years to cheer their hockey team to victory.
"We've had season tickets for six years," said Julie Johnson of Grand Rapids.
This time they arrived to help the Griffins celebrate the ultimate victory.
"This is like the great cherry on top," said Cory Welch, a fan from Plainfield Township. "This is it, this is as good as it gets."
Welch is one of the estimated 4,000 loyal fans who stood in line for a free championship t-shirt and a chance to see the Calder Cup trophy. But perhaps no one is as loyal as Chuck Engle of Grand Rapids -- He had fresh ink on his calf after getting a Griffins 2013 Calder Cup tattoo.
"It was something we've strived for, for 13 years in the city, and I'm from the city...I'm a Griffins fan, I'm a hockey fanatic," he said.
The hockey players and coach thanked their fans, and Grand Rapids, for the support.
"It's not supposed to be easy," said Coach Jeff Blashill. "It's supposed to be hard. That's why it feels so good when you win. And I can tell you, it feels great right now."
"It's great for Grand Rapids, look at all these people," said Bob Savin, a fan from Grand Rapids. It's great for the city."
That's one phrase fans repeated again and again. This Calder Cup isn't just for the Griffins -- it's for Grand Rapids.
"Sure they're going to get their names in the Hall of Fame for winning this thing, but it's a Grand Rapids thing -- it's more than this, it's a community thing," said Welch.