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Game Day Blog Archive

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. 

 2017-18: 5,660 per game (203,990 total), 5th best in the ECHL. 

 2016-17: 5,360 per game (192,949 total), 5th best in the ECHL. 

 2015-16: 5,095 per game (183,415 total), 7th best in the ECHL.

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.
The Grizzlies home preseason game will be on Friday, October 5th. 7:00 pm puck drop. Tickets for the game will be 10 dollars. You can buy tickets at the Maverik Center box office. Season ticket holders can contact their season ticket rep for complimentary tickets to the game.
In thinking about some of the characteristics to what made the Avalanche ECHL affiliate the Kelly Cup Champions the last 2 years, there are a few things that stand out of what we will most likely see this year.
1.      Good goaltending. It’s no secret that good goaltending wins games. It’s just like a football team having a great defense and a baseball team having a good pitching staff. It’s a great backbone to a successful team. The Colorado Eagles (Former Avalanche ECHL affiliate, now AHL affiliate), had some quality goaltenders last year in Joe Cannata, Lukas Hafner and Sam Brittain. That strength should continue here in Utah.
2.      Scoring depth. The Eagles last year had many great scorers but the key is they got scoring contributions from every forward line as well as key assists and every now an then, a key goal from defenseman. When every line is contributing on the scoreboard, that’s a recipe for success. I have a feeling that the scoring depth will be there this year.
I’m just finishing up my first season of professional baseball with the Idaho Falls Chukars of the Pioneer League. They just missed making the playoffs. One of the issues was they lost 6 games of 16 season meetings against the last place Orem Owlz. Unfortunately last year, the Grizzlies lost 8 of their last 9 meetings with the last place Rapid City Rush and ultimately contributed to the Grizz missing the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons.
The Grizzlies will get an early look at the Rapid City Rush on Opening Weekend at Maverik Center for home games on October 12th and 13th.

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