Turner Elson is Settling in with the Grand Rapids GriffinsFebruary 6, 2019
Turner Elson has long been a favorite around Grand Rapids and among the Access Hockey MI crew. Making his debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the 2017-18 season, he immediately caught the eye of offensive-minded fans. There is something edgy but defined in the way he plays – and its refreshing. In his 7th season as a pro, Elson has finally found a place where his style fits – he is where he belongs.
Living the Life of a Gypsy
The AHL and ECHL are leagues comprised of enormous talent that is constantly floating from one team to the next. As farm systems, few remain with one team throughout their careers. Often players are there for a season or two, then shipped off – either to the NHL or other teams within the lower leagues. Turner Elson found himself on a slippery slope in terms of being “shipped off.”
Coming out of juniors with the Red Deer Rebels, Elson’s professional career began with the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat. From there, he would find himself hopping from Abbotsford to the ECHL’s Alaska Aces, then to Adirondack, Calgary, Stockton, San Antonio and finally, Grand Rapids. Over the course of six seasons, Elson found himself in six different cities and three separate leagues.
Living life out of a suitcase and constantly having to adapt to new cities, teams, cultures, and styles, most would lose their minds or give up. Not Elson.
A Match Made in Hockey Heaven
When Turner Elson hit the ice for the first time in Grand Rapids, it was love. The chemistry, disposition, and style
instantly connected with the fans and the team. He was a fun loving, hard working, intense hockey player that loved a good laugh and a good goal. Over the course of the season, he won the hearts of the fans and the trust of his fellow Griffins.
Roommates with Dominic Turgeon, another crowd favorite in Grand Rapids, Elson thrived. Their personalities meshed perfectly which was evident on the ice. Reading each other, anticipating moves and making plays became second nature which made Griffins fans love them even more. Fresh off of a Calder Cup victory, the fans were hungry for more dominance, which was found in the artistry of Turgeon and Elson. The 2017-18 playoffs would be the first pro-level playoffs Elson was a part of.
Though Grand Rapids’ Calder Cup repeat hopes were cut short after being booted from the first round, Elson’s place on the team was solidified. I recall a conversation I had with Elson following one of the last regular season games prior to the playoffs. I asked how he was feeling about his first pro playoffs, and through a bloody mouth (he injured himself that game), he laughed and said he was pumped and couldn’t wait to push for the playoffs with the guys – the best he’s been around.
Worth Every Penny
Following his wonderful 21 points in 57 games during his first season as a Griffin, his contract was extended for the following 2018-19 season. Grand Rapids saw the value in his style and his drive on the ice. Elson has an insatiable work ethic and was justly rewarded. Already surpassing his previous season’s points with 28 in 44 games, Elson is on track to not only beat his previous season but also edge closer to a new career best. Elson has done nothing but impress this season. Consequently, he has been rewarded yet again for his incredible efforts by being signed as a Detroit Red Wing through 2020 – his first 2-way contract since the 2015-16 season. Detroit suits have been watching closely and were impressed with the 26-year-old – as well they should be.
Elson not only is on the verge of making a new benchmark in his career totals but also leads the team for short-handed goals. Grand Rapids has three short-handed goals to their name – all thanks to Elson. Earning every bit of cash the team is paying him, Elson is consistently one of the hardest workers on the ice – in every situation.
The Happy Grinder
The continuous transition from one team to the next never seemed to squelch Elson’s spirit. His lively, fun-loving disposition brings life to the locker room. From talking to him, one would never know he’s had so much struggle, so many injuries to work through, and the mental toll constant transition takes. Always laughing, smiling or joking, Elson is a much-needed element on the Grand Rapids bench. As a veteran, he knows his role on the ice, but that doesn’t stop him from loving every minute of it. He is a happy grinder.
Elson is the guy to “get it done” but have fun in the meantime. His board work is superb, he’s very strong and incredibly fast! Powering up the boards or through the center, he’s extremely versatile, nimble and smart – and Grand Rapids loves him for it.
Nothing but the Best
Signing the new contract with Detroit opens up a lot of opportunity for Elson. As multi-functional as he is, the Red Wings will no doubt, be calling on his aid in the next season. A gifted winger as well as a centerman, Elson would be a perfect fit with the likes of Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha. He is long overdue for another chance at the NHL – and with how hard he is working when no one is watching, it’s well deserved.
Turner Elson caught the eye of the Access Hockey MI crew in his first appearance in the Detroit Red Wings Training Camp in Traverse City. Its been a pleasure and honor to see his development ever since. The overwhelming support the Grand Rapids community has shown for this young man is further proof of his outstanding performance and personality.
We wish nothing but the best for the fan-favorite, Turner Elson.