GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– You could call it the calm before the storm as preparations are already going on for Game Four of the Calder Cup Finals.
It was definitely the quietest Van Andel Arena has been all day. Hours before game time is when the all-important prep happens. From stocking the shelves with limited edition Grand Rapids Griffins merchandise at The Zone, to picking the right outfit.
For head coach Jeff Blashill, his five year-old daughter has the perfect tie all ready.
“Hopefully, it’s a lucky one with lots of power as she says,” said Blashill. “It doesn’t always make for an easy match but we’ll work through that.”
Game Four is essentially the 100th game for Griffins’ players this season. Athletic trainer, John Bernal, has been busy round the clock keeping the guys healthy as they’re one win away from clinching the Calder Cup.
“One hundred games is a lot,” said Bernal. “These guys are on skates, they’re flying up and down the ice, taking hits, they’re giving hits. Guys are getting hit with pucks, getting whacked with sticks. Guys are getting cuts on their faces, whatever it may be. So when you turn 76 games into a 100 plus games, that leads to a lot more bumps and bruises.”
Following a potential win, merchandise, like souvenir pucks and championship tees will be hard to come by. So do some prepping yourself.
“I wouldn’t wait till Saturday because I can’t guarantee we’re going to have it,” said Logan Hollow, store manager of The Zone. “If we have it tonight, you see it and you want it, I would buy it then.”