GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two former Griffins will have their names etched into the most iconic trophy in sports.
On Sunday night, head coach of the Colorado Avalanche Jared Bednar led Colorado to a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 to win the Stanley Cup. Darren Helm, another former Griffin and current Avalanche center, is also celebrating the championship with Colorado.
Bednar is the first former Griffin to win the Stanley Cup as a head coach, while becoming the 18th former player to win. He played for the Griffins from 1998-99, registering 21 points and a team-high 220 penalty minutes. Before going to Colorado, he led the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters to the 2016 Calder Cup Championship.
“I still can’t believe it honestly,” Bednar said. “I’ve been fortunate to be in some great organizations and surrounded by fantastic people and hockey people. … I got the best advice I ever got as a coach early on in my career, was ‘don’t be in a rush.’ To climb the ladder, to go somewhere else, it’s about honing your craft and being the best possible coach you could be, and I preach that all the time to our players.”
For Helm, this marks his second Stanley Cup Championship after winning one with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008. He joins his former teammate Tomas Kopecky as the only two Griffins alumni to win two Stanley Cups. Helm began his pro career with the Griffins in 2007 and he still ranks among Grand Rapids’ all-time leaders in shorthanded goals and unassisted goals.
In the Stanley Cup playoff there was a former Griffin on each participating team within the player, coaching or hockey operations ranks.