GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — West Michigan’s first major-league women’s sports team shared its new name Friday night at what will be home turf when the season begins next January.
During the first intermission of the Grand Rapids Griffins game at Van Andel Arena, DP Fox director of strategic investments Cole DeVos and head coach Cathy George said the team will be called The Grand Rapids Rise.
“Grand Rapids has long been a city on the rise, and our team’s name and imagery encapsulate both our region’s continued rebirth and the new trails that we’re blazing in women’s professional sports,” said DeVos, the son of Rise owner Dan DeVos. “We’re proud to provide the first opportunity that our amazing athletes have had to stay home and play right here in the United States, and we can’t wait to help grow the sport of professional volleyball in West Michigan."
The phoenix, in addition to being similar to the Griffins, also has ties to the city’s history. The Phoenix Furniture Company was one of the largest furniture manufacturers in Grand Rapids in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Like Van Andel Arena, the company’s factory had a Fulton Street address, sitting at the current location of Grand Valley State University’s Secchia Hall just a half-mile west of the arena.
The franchise hosted a "Name the Team" contest, and five people from Michigan suggested "Rise:" Tom Cathey of Grand Rapids, Kirk Helferich of Jenison, Luis Hernandez of Byron Center, Tucker Huff of Hudsonville, and Scott Vernon of Grand Rapids.
As the first person to submit the name, Hernandez won the grand prize that includes two season tickets for the inaugural 2024 campaign, recognition at the home opener at Van Andel Arena, a volleyball signed by the inaugural team, the opportunity to meet the team, and an assortment of team merchandise. The four subsequent winners will receive two tickets to and recognition at the 2024 home opener, a team-autographed item, and two team t-shirts, the franchise said.
The team recently announced longtime Michigan State and Western Michigan head coach Cathy George will lead the team.
Established in December 2022, The Rise will take part in the Pro Volleyball Federation, debuting at Van Andel Arena in January 2024.
The team's 14-player roster will have a 24-game season with 12 home and 12 away games.
You can learn more about the team on their website here.
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