Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Not Exactly A Relocation...

The sign to the left comes from the small town of Rockford, Michigan. Rockford is a mere fourteen miles north of Grand Rapids, Michigan which plays host to the AHL's Griffins. The Kent County town has about 6000 people, and was founded in 1845 as the town of Laphamville. With the railroad cutting through the town in 1865, the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad Company advised the town to pick a shorter name. A newly-arrived resident suggested the name be Rockford after his hometown of Rockford, Illinois, and the name was narrowly adopted and made official in 1866 by the 315 townspeople.

So why am I writing about a small town in Michigan? Well, the Calder Cup Playoff brackets see the Grand Rapids Griffins meeting the Rockford IceHogs in the Western Conference Semifinal, and the town of Rockford, Michigan has thrown its support behind the Griffins in the most unique way.

As per the press release from the city of Rockford through City Manager Michael F. Young, "The City Council of Rockford, Michigan, on Tuesday unanimously voted to change the name of its town to Griffinville for the next two weeks, while the Grand Rapids Griffins take on the Rockford (Ill.) IceHogs during the American Hockey League's Western Conference Semifinals." Adjust your address book accordingly if you're planning on sending a package to Rockford Griffinville, Michigan.

Obviously, a neighboring city to Grand Rapids shouldn't show support for the Griffins' opponent in this round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, but I'm not sure I've ever seen a town change its name entirely. The press release goes on to even promote the new Facebook page for Griffinville! Michael Young stated today, "Given the high stakes of the Calder Cup Playoffs and our city's ardent support of the Griffins, the last thing we want is for anyone to confuse us with our namesake in Illinois, or to think that we have any residual affinity for anything from there, including the IceHogs." While the Facebook page leaves a lot to be desired, I do commend the City Council of Rockford Griffinville for taking this "support your team" idea to new heights!

Officially, the name switches back to "Rockford" on May 20 at the latest or whenever the series concludes. I have to admit that this is one of the more unique ideas in sports considering that the Griffins and IceHogs have never met in the playoffs previous to this. Well done, City Council of Rockford Griffinville!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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