The third segment of Griffins summer spotlight will feature captain Matt Ford.
Matt Ford captained the Griffins during the 2017-2018 season. He was named captain just one season after Nathan Paetsch, who wore the “C” during the run to the Championship, signed with the Rochester Americans to be a little bit closer to his home. Ford was an assistant captain at that time.
Ford was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 8th round of the 2004 NHL draft. Ford began his pro career by playing in the ECHL for the Charlotte Checkers. He has played for eight different AHL teams in Hartford, Lake Erie, Hershey, Adirondack, Springfield, Oklahoma City, Bakersfield, and Grand Rapids.
The best season he had in terms of total points came during the 2014-2015 regular season with the Oklahoma City Barons. He collected 53 points (19-34-53) while playing in 69 games. He had a career high in goals the following year with 27 while playing for the Bakersfield Condors.
Ford joined the Griffins before the 2016-2017 season. A big reason for him joining Grand Rapids was having the opportunity to once again play for Todd Nelson. Ford played for Nelson during his two seasons in Oklahoma City. Ford was named as an assistant captain before his first season with the Griffins.
Ford battled injuries to start 2016. He finally played in his first game with the Griffins on 11/6/2016 and scored a goal in his debut. He ended up with 35 points (14-21-35) to help the Griffins reach the post season. He added 12 points (8-4-12) during the Griffins run to the Calder Cup.
Nathan Paetsch, who was the captain during the 2016-2017 season, did not return to the Griffins, which left an opening for a new captain. It was a no brainier for Todd Nelson to select Ford to be the new captain. Ford added 38 points (22-16-38).
Ford recently re-signed to remain with the Griffins for two more season where he is expected to remain the captain.
Free-agent and former Griffin Ben Street and Ford were teammates and the University if Wisconsin. Together, they led the Badgers to the 2006 National Title.