GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday announced their schedule format for the 2017-18 season, which is highlighted by games against the Hershey Bears, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Tucson Roadrunners.
The full schedule with dates and times for the American Hockey League’s 82nd season will be released this summer.
The Griffins and the Atlantic Division’s Bears will stage a home-and-home set, matching up for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign. Grand Rapids is 6-0 all-time against Hershey, a franchise that began play in the AHL in 1938-39, has won 11 Calder Cups and is affiliated with the Washington Capitals. Former Griffin (2004-06) and AHL Hall of Famer Bryan Helmer serves as the Bears’ vice president of hockey operations.
Grand Rapids and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will meet for the first time since 2008-09 as they’ll also play a home-and-home set. The Griffins are 4-1-0-1 against the Penguins and defeated Wilkes-Barre/Scranton three games to one in the 2003 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, whose parent club in Pittsburgh won the 2016 Stanley Cup, has qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs in 15 consecutive seasons since 2002-03, the longest active streak in the AHL.
The Griffins and Roadrunners will meet four times in 2017-18, twice at Van Andel Arena and twice in Arizona, in the inaugural meetings between the franchises. A member of the Pacific Division, Tucson joined the AHL in 2016-17 and is the primary affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes.
The American Hockey League also announced the division alignment for next season. The Western Conference’s Central Division will be comprised of the Griffins and six other teams, as the Charlotte Checkers are moving to the Eastern Conference.
Grand Rapids will face off against divisional foes 54 times, including 10 games apiece against Rockford, Milwaukee and Iowa, and eight games each versus Chicago, Cleveland and Manitoba.
The Griffins will play teams from the Pacific Division a total of 18 times, including six games against Texas, four against San Antonio and two against both San Jose and Stockton.
Leading the best-of-seven Central Division Finals 3-1 against Chicago, the Griffins travel to the Wolves for Game 5 on Saturday at 8 p.m. EDT and will try to clinch a spot in the conference finals for the third time in the last five years.
Playoff tickets are available at all Star Tickets locations, including The Zone, online through griffinshockey.com/tickets, by phone through Star Tickets at (800) 585-3737, or via the Griffins app for iPhone or Android.
Available for all playoff home games, Playoff 4-Packs include four or more tickets at a savings of $3 per ticket plus no service fees. To purchase a Playoff 4-Pack, visit griffinshockey.com/playoff4pack or call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2.
Fans who want to experience every Griffins game at Van Andel Arena during the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs can purchase a Griffins Playoff SuperPass. Enjoy the same great seat at significant savings plus the convenience of the “pay-as-we-play” method of payment. To reserve your Griffins Playoff SuperPass, visitgriffinshockey.com/superpass or call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2.
Continuing a postseason tradition, the Griffins are extending their popular Friday promotion and will offer $2 beers and $2 hot dogs for all home playoff games for two hours after the doors open, while supplies last.
Peppino’s Sports Grille in downtown Grand Rapids will host watch parties for all Griffins road games during the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, including Game 5 in Chicago. Fans can enjoy $2 short and $4 tall Bud Light specials, $5.99 all-American burger baskets and $8.99 one-topping deep dish pizzas.
The AHL moved Charlotte out of the Griffins' divison (as told in the presser above) and left the remainder of the Central intact. The other changes will see Albany lose their franchise to Binghampton, which is being left open by the Binghampton Senators' move to Belleville.
The league is still yet to decide playoff format for the 2018 season, but promise that will be released this summer, along with the full league schedule.