GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - The Grand Rapids Griffins are hoping a certain player's face will encourage fans to fill the arena for their 2016 home opener.
A 1,000 square foot decal is now up in the windows of the Van Andel Arena.
It includes a photo of longtime defenseman Nathan Paetsch and promotes the Oct. 14 game versus the Chicago Wolves at 7 p.m.
It will mark the franchise’s 21st season overall, 16th as members of the American Hockey League and 15th as the primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.
The Griffins and second-year head coach Todd Nelson will open their 76-game slate at Van Andel Arena, marking the 11th time Grand Rapids’ season opener has been at home. The Griffins’ road opener will come a day later on Sat., Oct. 15, when they visit the Wolves at Allstate Arena.
Highlights of the 2016-17 schedule include:
- Twenty-seven prime home dates (17 Fridays and 10 Saturdays) out of 38 games;
- The Griffins’ first-ever games against a pair of Pacific Division foes, the San Jose Barracuda and the Stockton Heat. Grand Rapids will welcome San Jose to Van Andel Arena on Jan. 27 and Stockton on Jan. 28, marking the seventh and eighth teams from California, respectively, that the Griffins have hosted. The Griffins make the return trip to San Jose on March 11 and Stockton on March 12, as the SAP Center and Stockton Arena will become the 59th and 60th road venues, respectively, the Griffins have played in. The SAP Center, also home to the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, will be the eighth NHL arena to host a Griffins game;
- The Griffins’ 20th annual New Year’s Eve celebration versus the Rockford IceHogs on Sat., Dec. 31;
- Grand Rapids’ 16th annual Matinee Game against the Manitoba Moose on Wed., Feb. 15 at 11 a.m.;
- Twelve games (six home) against the defending Calder Cup Champion Cleveland (formerly Lake Erie) Monsters.
- All Griffins home games will begin at 7 p.m., with the exception of Sat., Dec. 31 (6 p.m.), and Wed., Feb. 15 (11 a.m.).
The team's full schedule and ticket information can be found at griffinshockey.com.
(© 2016 WZZM)