The Griffins Ink In McNamara

    GRAND RAPIDS — General Manager Bob McNamara agreed to a one-year contract extension last week with the Grand Rapids Griffins, the city’s American Hockey League franchise. The extension means that McNamara will direct the hockey operation through at least the 2002-03 season.

    Details of the contract were not released.

    McNamara is the only GM the Griffins have known. He came to Grand Rapids to build the franchise in the 1996-97 season from Cleveland, where he served as assistant GM. The International Hockey League honored McNamara with its GM of the Year award that year, the Griffins’ inaugural season when the franchise won 40 games and made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

    McNamara also played a key role in developing a three-year player affiliation agreement with the Ottawa Senators that ended this past season, and a similar five-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings that starts next season.

    “It’s really important for our organization to have Bob with us as we enter this transitional year,” said Scott Gorsline, COO of DP Fox Sports and Entertainment, the majority owner of the Griffins.

    “He’s shown an ability to be versatile, whether building an independent team during our first three seasons or fostering a great relationship with the Ottawa Senators over the last three. We’re obviously confident he can do the same with the Red Wings.”

    The 40-year-old McNamara is a Toronto native who graduated from Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in economics and started for four years as an Irish goaltender. He was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres and played five seasons of minor pro hockey in Rochester and Milwaukee.

    “He’s a perfect fits for us,” said Gorsline. “He knows what our ownership expects on the hockey side and has done a great job in that respect.”

    The Griffins are owned by Dan and Pamella DeVos of DP Fox Sports & Entertainment and David Van Andel of the Van Andel Institute.           

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