On The Couch With Craig: Clancy Griggs
The sixth in a series of profiles of AZ Coyotes Insider founding members
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Clancy Griggs is a brave man. He’s a Coyotes fan living in hostile territory, surrounded by enemies with a recent cause for conflict. But moving to Nashville hasn’t dissuaded Griggs from flying his Coyotes colors. Nor has it dampened his enthusiasm for a team that he has been following since it arrived in the Valley in 1996.
His dad, who worked part time with the Roadrunners, is a big fan. Several cousins are, too, and Griggs can still remember the sights, sounds and smells while walking from the parking garage to America West Arena.
“The atmosphere was always so exciting and I looked forward to every game,” he said.
I caught up with Clancy this week to chat about his fandom, his favorite Coyotes memories, fending off Predators fans and his budding beer league career. Griggs is the sixth founding member to take the couch as we continue to build the AZ Coyotes Insider community.
Full name: Clancy Griggs
Twitter account: I don't use Twitter, but my dog has an Instagram account (@UpDownOllie). It's the closest thing to social media I use.
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon
Current city of residence: Nashville, Tennessee
Arizona history: Lived there from 1994-2015
Occupation: Supply chain/purchasing
Hobbies: Beer league hockey, amateur wood working, home brewing
Little known fact about you: Though I never had much interest in the subject, I won my middle school's geography bee.
1. Describe how you became a Coyotes fan and your involvement with the team over the years?
The Coyotes moved to Phoenix shortly after I did. I was 7, loved sports, and there was always a buzz going to the games. Some of my favorite childhood memories were driving downtown, walking up to America West Arena and just being incredibly excited to be able to yell and scream. I fell in love with the team that first year and though I went through a phase where baseball was life, I never stopped liking the Yotes.
My love for hockey started before, though. In Portland, we would go to Winterhawks (WHL) games on a regular basis. If anyone reading this has not been to a CHL game, I cannot recommend them enough. I have always been a fan of the passion those players play with, and the games tend to have a lot of action. I have never left a game feeling like I was not entertained.
After we moved to Phoenix, my father worked in some capacity for the Roadrunners. I would go to the games with him and just roam around the arena during the games. I got to sit pretty much anywhere I wanted, which was in general, pretty awesome. I would prefer to sit by the penalty box and try to talk to the players. Not many responded, but I did learn a lot of new swear words (not directed at me).
Once the Coyotes moved here, we went to games here and there but I always tried to watch them. To this day, I believe a hockey goal is the most exciting play in sports. After I graduated from college, and had my first grown-up job with a little bit of disposable income, I got season tickets for the ‘11-’12 and ‘12-’13 seasons. And even though I don't live in Arizona anymore, I try to go the home opener every year and at least one away game!
2. Tell me what it is like being a Coyotes fan in Nashville. Do you often remind Predators fans of the dangers of Scottsdale nightlife? And did you keep a low or loud profile in August when the teams met in the qualifying round?
It's interesting living in an away city for sure. I have a Coyotes sticker on my car and during the play-in round I definitely got some honks while driving around. I was able to go the game here last December, and was heckled pretty hard as well (although a lot of people did tell me my black kachina jersey was the best in the league). I try to go to an away game or two each year and for the most part I don't hear much, but Nashville fans are loud.
A few of my co-workers are pretty big Predators fans, and whenever they get a little too uppity about their team I do remind them about 2012. I was at the game where we clinched against the Predators back in 2012 and have a video of the handshake line. I may have shown it once or twice. If I am going to try to poke fun at them I point out that awkward banner they have.
Nashville has a pretty great set-up though. Our public transportation is not the best, but the arena is right in the heart of downtown and opens up to the Broadway bars and honky-tonks. The atmosphere is pretty exciting (the Coyotes game I went to was on a Monday night) and the fans are loud. I am excited for them to be a division rival here next year, and hopefully get to more games. I would encourage anyone who is interested in coming out to Nashville to come check out a game here. More than happy to provide recommendations!
3. Tell me about this beer league in which you play?
I first want to give a shout out to Oceanside (Ice Arena); it is where I started with the Tuesday night adult beginner class. I am not sure if they still put that on, but back in the day it was $20, gear provided if you didn't have your own, for about an hour and a half of lessons and a scrimmage. I knew almost nothing about playing but the environment was so welcoming and I absolutely loved every minute of my time out there. I made some lifelong friends out there and assuming it still exists, I encourage everyone reading to try it out if they have ever had any interest.
Our leagues out here are a bit interesting. Cages/visors are way less common than they should be. I am not going to win many beauty competitions, but I would never play without a cage. Out here, it's almost a source of pride to wear the least protective gear. But for the most part it’s just a group of guys who come out and play the game we love!
It's hard to keep these PG, as there have been plenty of chirps or comments that are not family friendly but one that comes to mind happened just a few weeks ago. A player brought a couple of cans of beer to the bench (a no-no at our rink) to drink if he scored a goal. He did end up getting one and after he got to the bench, for some reason he tried to puncture it with his skate. I think he was trying to shotgun it. I'm honestly not sure. Well, he failed miserably, and somehow managed to pop the can into the air and hit the referee as he skated by. There was a lot of confusion, laughing, and a penalty called. He skated to center ice to get his beer, and went to the penalty box to drink it.
Another all-time favorite: A teammate got into an altercation in our corner. The opposing player took offense and was slashing/chirping the teammate all the way down the ice. After the play was dead, the opposing player kept it up and my teammate kind of swatted his stick away and said something to the effect of, "Calm down". The ref then boomed "You calm down!" and gave my teammate a roughing call. As the ref skated to the timekeeper to call the penalty, he fell down. My teammate (in all reality did nothing wrong) chimed in "Ha! Karma's a b****!" Almost everyone on the ice was laughing. The ref was not impressed and gave him a 10-minute misconduct.
(We scored a shorty that was the game-winning goal. Also, the teammate was my dad).
All things considered though, I think most people who play in a beer league will tell you that it’s a community. It’s generally a good group of people who share a common interest, generally look after each other, and try to make it a fun time. I plan to play as long as my body will allow me. The postgame beers don’t hurt either.
4. What are your favorite Coyotes memories?
I have a lot of fond memories tied to Coyotes games. Like I mentioned earlier, I loved driving with my dad to the games. I was always so excited walking from the parking lot up to the arena. Once I moved away, I would always fly home to tailgate at the home opener with my friends, and I wouldn't trade those times for anything.
For some of the specifics: I had season tickets for the 2012 playoff run, so a few are from there. I was at the game where Ray Whitney got his 1,000th point — the building was electric. I don't recall, but I believe we had already clinched a playoff spot, or were very close. It was very obvious that he had the assist on the Vrby goal. The entire building erupted, it was such an awesome experience.
The series clinching game against the Predators was another awesome experience! It was such a great game, seeing the handshake line, spilling out into the Westgate Plaza with a few thousand friends all yelling and chanting.
I try to catch an away game every year. The season before last, I decided to take a trip to watch the Coyotes play in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. It was an awesome time from start to finish. There were great times in each game, but some people who took the trip were complaining about the weather or something. I think I heard that on a podcast once or twice (editor’s note: Clancy must be mistaking me for another podcaster). In Toronto, we decided to go down to the glass for warm-ups. A lady put her drink down on top of the boards to look at her phone and Nick Cousins saw her and casually skates over to where we were and backs up quite forcibly into the boards to knock her drink over, audibly says "oops!" and skates away.
5. Tell AZ Coyotes Insider readers more about your current job, your work history and what you like best about your current gig,
I currently work in procurement/supply chain. I order IT equipment for our sites all over the western hemisphere. We communicate with internal customers, vendors, work to set up plans and strategies to ensure our goods get delivered on time, place POs, track and ensure delivery, basically build spreadsheets, talk to people, and buy things. Prior to this career, I spent eight years as a chemistry and computer literacy teacher; four years in Glendale and four in San Leandro, California.
Learning is most definitely one of my passions, and I believe it should take place outside of the classroom just as often, if not more than in it. I truly believe everyone should try to learn something new every day and/or try to improve something every day. These are things that are absolutely in our control and come down to a personal choice. If I happened to teach anyone reading this, I hope I managed to instill that. And maybe how to do stoichiometry.
Getting back to the current gig, our office is in the heart of downtown Nashville, and when it is not a pandemic, my view from my office is Bridgestone Arena/Broadway. I do not have a picture to share, but it is a pretty cool view.
Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter: @CraigSMorgan