Summer Blog Entry September 21, 2018
09/21/2018 9:07 AM - Tyson Whiting
Friday Summer Blog, September 21st, 2018
By: Tyson Whiting
We are getting closer to the return of hockey. 14 days till the home preseason game against the Idaho Steelheads on October 5th. 21 days till the regular season opener at Maverik Center vs the Rapid City Rush.
The Grizzlies announced this week that Taylor Richart is returning to the team for his 3rd year in Utah. Last year Richart tied with Colorado’s Matt Register for most goals by a defenseman, as each had 17 on the year.
Richart has 24 goals in a Grzzlies uniform in 2 seasons. It’s interesting to see the scoring punch from Taylor, who scored only 3 goals in 4 years at Miami (Ohio) as a college player.
Pound for pound, I would say that Taylor Richart might be the toughest player in the league. Listed at 5’10” and 180 pounds, he can play as physical as anyone. He plays hurt and last year was probably, from game to game, the most consistent Grizzlies defenseman. It’s big that he’s back in the mix for another year. He’s a very good hockey player.
The ice was put down at Maverik Center, which really doesn’t mean anything except it’s a symbol and a not so subtle sign that we are getting closer to hockey being played.
When you think of what hockey is, there are so many things that come to mind. Hockey is….Fun. There’s nothing like watching a hockey game live and in the arena. Hockey is ……Passion. I have always loved the raw passion of a hockey game, where one minute they are trying to beat the crap out of each other and the next minute they are shaking hands and saying “good game.” Hockey is.……family. It’s a great night out with the family to see a hockey game and every good team I’ve seen, the team in a way becomes a family. It all goes together. Beginning October 5th, Hockey is …..back.
Get your tickets at utahgrizzlies.com or go to the Maverik Center box office to catch all the excitement of Grizzlies hockey with our new affiliate with the Colorado Avalanche.
Summer Blog Entry September 14, 2018
09/14/2018 1:00 PM - Tyson Whiting
Friday Summer Blog
By: Tyson Whiting
It’s my first week in the office and it’s been an interesting experience so far. It feels like it’s going to be a good season in Tim Branham’s 6th year as Head Coach and General Manager of the Utah Grizzlies. With Coach Branham's next win, he passes Butch Goring for the most in team history. Both coaches are tied with 178 wins. Goring did it in 4 seasons. Branham got there in 5 seasons but keep in mind that ECHL seasons are 72 games, as opposed to the old IHL days in the 90's where Goring's teams played an 82 game schedule.
The players begin training camp in a couple of weeks. One of the things that can be said about this year’s team is the motto “Raising the Bar.” The Mountain Division year in and year out is arguably the toughest division in the league. This year shouldn’t be any different. The defending champion Colorado Eagles are now in the AHL and are not in the division anymore. They are being replaced by the Kansas City Mavericks, who the Grizzlies will play 6 times this year.
The Tulsa Oilers and Wichita Thunder were both solid last year. The Idaho Steelheads have made the postseason 15 straight years and the Allen Americans has made it each of their 4 years in the league. Rapid City played the Grizzlies tough last year.
The good thing about playing in a tough division, is it makes you focused and brings out the best of your team. If you can have success in this division, you should be in a good position with the rest of the league.
One of the things to get excited about is the potential players that will be coming from the Colorado Avalanche and our AHL affiliate, the aforementioned Colorado Eagles. If you are the Avalanche, you want the young players in your organization to learn how to win. It’s also the case in Minor League Baseball with their farm system. There’s something to be said for organizations that place a premium on winning at all levels of their system. The Av’s have shown that sense of urgency and that’s why they have had success in recent years in winning at all levels of the system.
A positive trend over the last few years has been in attendance. The Grizzlies have the best fans in the ECHL and it shows in the attendance totals. We have been in 5th place out of 27 teams in the ECHL for each of the past 2 seasons. Last year we had more than 5,650 fans per game at Maverik Center, including 2 games of over 10,000. There was 10,649 on January 27th vs Tulsa and back to back crowds of over 10,200 to end the regular season against Kansas City.
Last year attendance was the highest for the Grizzlies since they joined the ECHL in the 2005-06 season.
The preseason game on October 5th has $10 tickets general admission. For season ticket holders, contact your ticket rep for free tickets to the game. That game will be against the Idaho Steelheads. The next night the 2 teams switch venues and play at CenturyLink Arena in Boise on October 6th to end the preseason.
Opening weekend for the Grizzlies will be on October 12-13th against the Rapid City Rush. Get your tickets now at the Maverik Center box office, give the Grizz a call at 801-988-8000 or go to utahgrizzlies.com.
Remember last year’s NHL affiliate themed warm-up jersey’s that the team wore pregame? The team will at a later date reveal the look for this year’s warm-up jersey tops. I think Grizzlies fans will like what they look like.
Summer Blog Entry: September 7, 2018
09/07/2018 3:53 PM - Tyson Whiting
We are getting to the 1 month mark before we begin regular season games at Maverik Center. Earlier this week, the ECHL released the preseason schedule. Once again, it’s 2 games against the Idaho Steelheads on back to back nights.
Summer Blog Entry: August 17, 2018
08/17/2018 1:46 PM - Tyson Whiting
It has been an interesting week in Grizzlies hockey. The Voice of the Grizzlies, Adrian Denny is headed to the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL to be the new Voice of the Roadrunners. Adrian did an outstanding job with the Grizzlies organization over 16 years, the last 13 as the Grizzlies play-by-play man.
Adrian has been a great friend and mentor to me for many years. I have no doubt that he’s going to do an outstanding job with the Roadrunners. He has been a big part of the organization and there’s no question that he has left some big shoes to fill.
It’s true when people talk about being in the right place at the right time. I hosted the pregame, intermission and postgame shows for the Grizzlies for the last couple of years. I grew up listening to games on the radio and it’s a great honor to be part of Grizzlies broadcasts on the radio.
It’s been a busy summer for me as I have been broadcasting games for the Pioneer League baseball’s Idaho Falls Chukars, Rookie affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. That has been a great experience so far. The Chukars have been hovering anywhere between 1 and 4 games over the .500 mark the entire season.
The Grizzlies have a good, consistent offensive team and I don’t think there’s much question that the Grizzlies will be able to score in bunches as the team has added great scoring threats in Forwards Caleb Herbert and Austin Carroll as well as Ryan Walters returning to the lineup and re-acquiring Matt Berry, who scored 16 goals for Utah in the 2015-16 season.
The Grizzlies announced the signing of defenseman Nolan DeJong. DeJong, 22, split his rookie season between the Colorado Eagles and the Colorado Avalanche AHL affiliate in San Antonio. He had two goals and five assists for seven points in 50 games with the Eagles; who won their second-straight ECHL Kelly Cup Championship in June.
The words to describe DeJong is steady and consistent. DeJong rarely made a mistake on the ice and has a lot of big game experience.
Opening weekend is October 12th-13th vs the Rapid City Rush. 7:00 pm puck drop.
Summer Blog Entry: August 10, 2018
08/10/2018 2:51 PM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies will announce another former Colorado Eagles player early this week. They saw the Eagles 11 times in 2017-2018 and are now getting additional feedback from the Avalanche and Eagles staff on their ECHL players.
Over the last month, we’ve been bringing you #ColoradoColdCuts on Twitter @UtahGrizz. If you’ve missed any nuggets on the new Avalanche affiliation, click here.
The Grizzlies 1:30 p.m. holiday matinees on Monday, January 21 and Monday, February 18 will be moved to 1 p.m. so the Kansas City Mavericks can get a flight out of town after the President’s Day contest. There’s nothing more I like than being able to get out of Dodge after playing a road game to head home and not spend an extra night in a hotel. The best example of that is bussing straight out of Idaho after a Saturday night game, being home around 3 a.m. and waking up in your own bed in the morning.
If you’re in Tyson Whiting’s neighborhood Saturday around the Utah Olympic Oval, feel free to stop in and watch some of Head Coach Tim Branham’s open professional tryout going in three sessions. Sunday’s sessions are closed to the public.
9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
If you missed my Late Summer Chat with Head Coach Tim Branham for Grizzlies TV Tuesday, we talked about the anticipated three goalie situation, forward and defense depth and what else he’s working on for the offseason. Click here to watch.