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Griffins, Flames drop puck in Tuesday matinee

The Grand Rapids Griffins will continue a unique tradition at noon on Tuesday when they host the Quad City Flames in their seventh annual matinee game, presented by Lake Michigan Credit Union.

An estimated 5,400 high school and elementary students will be in attendance, bulking up a crowd that has averaged 6,834 over the first six events.

Grand Rapids began the tradition in 2001 by staging the first non-holiday weekday matinee in AHL history and has experienced great success, winning the first five nooners before dropping an 8-1 decision to Milwaukee on Nov. 14, 2006, before a record event crowd of 8,243.

“You Can Be Anything, featuring the life and presidency of Gerald R. Ford” is the theme for this year’s matinee game, providing both elementary and high school students with an educational experience prior to the Griffins game (beginning at 10 a.m.). The Gerald R. Ford Museum will provide an interactive curriculum for elementary students in the arena banquet rooms. Displays will focus on the late president’s life, from his childhood in Grand Rapids to his time in the White House.

In addition, professionals from LMCU and various fields will present career options to kids through interactive displays on the concourse. Concurrently, 1,100 high school students will participate in a career forum in the north end sections of the arena.

“Money Matters,” a look at financial responsibility after high school, will be presented by Vicki Smith, LMCU business development manager. U.S. Congressman Vernon Ehlers will discuss his path to Washington as well as his relationship with President Ford, while former gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos, president of The Windquest Group, will talk about his journey through business and politics and share his thoughts on education and business in Michigan.