Thousands of young hockey fans dream of one day skating with the pros. A select few grow up to realize that dream, and even fewer get the chance to live that dream in their hometown.
Luke Glendening became the first native of Grand Rapids, Mich., to play for the Grand Rapids Griffins when the American Hockey League club signed him to a one-year contract before last season.
"Some of my greatest childhood memories with my dad and brother are going to Griffins games," Glendening said. "To be here now as a player and remember that feeling of sitting in the stands is pretty special."
Glendening, who graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 2007, earned a multi-year tenure as captain at the University of Michigan after joining the Wolverines as a walk-on.
He began the 2012-13 season with the Griffins' ECHL affiliate in Toledo, but it didn't take long for Grand Rapids coach Jeff Blashill to recall the 24-year-old forward.