GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Hockey returned to Van Andel Arena for the Grand Rapids Griffins’ home opener Friday night.
The doors opened at 6 p.m. and the puck dropped at 7 p.m. The Griffins beat the Colorado Eagles, an AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2. This was the first time they had faced this team.
It was also the first game for the Griffin’s new head coach Dan Watson. He was the coach for the Toledo Walleye since 2016. Now he joins the Griffins.
He told News 8 he hoped to lead them to victory over the weekend.
“I feel excited. There’s probably a bit of nervousness as well, but it’s a good nervous, not a bad nervous,” Watson said. “A little anxious to get going, being hired in June, it’s finally here.”
The Griffins will have home games Friday and Saturday night and then they will head to Colorado for the next two games. Watson said this year’s team is balanced between younger, more novice players and more experienced players. He added that he is looking forward to seeing how the team plays against a team they have never faced before.
“It’s kind of an unknown and I think the biggest thing when you’re playing an unknown, is worry about yourself. Let’s make sure we go out and do our job and try to force the Colorado Eagles to adjust to us,” Watson said.
For the first game of the team’s 28th season, there is a promotion for $2 beers and hotdogs. Bre’onna Raymo, the team’s group events manager, said they hope to fill all the seats in the arena for the weekend games.
“It’s been how many months since people have been able to sit in this arena, enjoy the $2 beers and hot dogs and watch a fight or two,” Raymo said.
Tickets for Friday and Saturday can be found on the Griffins’ website.