McCollum leaves mark on Griffins with franchise record

Tommy McCollum prepares to stop a shot at practice at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With a win last Friday, a Grand Rapids Griffins goalie set a franchise record.

Tommy McCollum’s 110 wins give him the most in Griffins’ history, ahead of Joey MacDonald.

While he has been a fixture in the Griffins’ locker room at Van Andel Arena for years, he hasn’t been able to stick with the Detroit Red Wings, having played just three games for the team.

Despite that fact, he has made an impact on the organization still felt by the guys who have moved to a new home at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

“He’s just the ultimate team guy,” Griffins head coach Todd Nelson said. “After a big penalty kill, he makes it known when he comes to the bench and tells the guys great job on the kill (and) great job on blocking shots. If guys are getting rattled, he’s the guy that is that calming presence especially when guys are playing.”

His professionalism has improved as his career has progressed since his AHL debut in 2009.

“No matter how you’re feeling, as a pro now, I know how to get myself ready even for those games where you don’t necessarily have the energy to play,” McCollum said. “I think I’ve calmed down a lot.  When I first started, I was very emotional. I’ve kind of let that affect me at times whereas now I learned how to harness that and channel it into a positive for myself.”

Even though he’s from Buffalo, the nine total seasons spent with the Griffins has McCollum referring to Grand Rapids as home.

“Grand Rapids definitely feels like home to me,” he said. “The way I look at it, I’ve grown up as an adult here in Grand Rapids. I got here when I was 19. I really learned a lot about myself and life and how to be a true professional both on and off the ice.”

He has seen a lot of shots, losses and wins during his time in net. Of the 110 victories, there is one that stands out most.

“It still has to be winning the Calder Cup in 2013, knowing we were the first team to bring the Calder Cup back to Grand Rapids is something that’s very special,” McCollum said.

The Griffins will be back in action at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Van Andel Arena against the Manitoba Moose.