End of eras? Hoggan, McCollum don’t know future in Grand Rapids

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One has spent his entire professional career with the organization. The other is credited with bringing the franchise its only Calder Cup.

For Tom McCollum and Jeff Hoggan, their days with the Grand Rapids Griffins could be over.

Hoggan, 38, is the oldest skater in the AHL and would be one of a number of veterans expected to be on the Griffins' roster next season -- and teams are only allowed to dress six (goalies not included) per game. He was named a captain almost immediately after his arrival in 2012, helping lead Grand Rapids to their first AHL championship the ensuing season.

McCollum, 26, just finished his seventh season in Grand Rapids -- and may not have anything left to prove in net for the organization. He's been a backup for the majority of his time with the organization, but has started all but two of the team's playoff games over the last two seasons.

Both McCollum and Hoggan are waiting until the end of June -- when teams begin to make contract offers -- to evaluate where they are in the Griffins' plans, then make a choice on their future from there.

For Hoggan, who has played 14 seasons of pro hockey -- including stints in the NHL -- his four seasons in Grand Rapids have been the best of his career.

"Getting to the NHL - people think that's gotta be the best time, when you played in the NHL. No, it's been here," he said as the team cleaned out their lockers at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday morning. "I was a journeyman, right? You bounce around, you call it quits, and it's over. Here...you've become a part of something. You feel a real sense of belonging...and it's hard to let go in that capacity, for sure."

Meanwhile, McCollum has had a full career for the Griffins, already holding franchise records for games played (226) and second in wins (103).

"I'd love to be a starter and win a Calder Cup with this team," he said Wednesday. If there's one thing I wish I could have done up to this point, that's definitely one. At the same time, I've had a great run here. It's been a lot of fun and I definitely wouldn't change things."

 

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