Grand Rapids finished their first season in last place in a strong Northeast Division with a record of 40–30–12; the team's opening round playoff series with Orlando ended in a 3–2 loss. Winger Michel Picard was voted a first-team all star by the league's coaches after finishing fourth in league scoring with 46 goals and 55 assists in 82 games. The franchise's first season was considered a success by the IHL which held its 1997 All-Star Game in front of a capacity crowd at the 10,834-seat Van Andel Arena. Thirty-nine of forty-one home games were also sellouts, and the Griffins set an IHL record with season ticket sales of 7,000.
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