Whitecaps reveal “Grand Rapids Dam Breakers” persona that will bring more awareness to Grand Rapids Whitewater project

West Michigan Whitecaps
Comstock Park, MI – – Saturday, July 17, 2021 – – West Michigan Whitecaps Manager Brayan Pena answered his phone. The call was from Jim Jarecki, Whitecaps VP & General Manager. Pena listens intently, then smiles. “We’re doing WHAT?”

Jarecki was calling to get some Whitecaps players set up for a photo shoot on the banks of the Grand River. They would be dressed in a new uniform; with a new name they would not recognize.

At LMCU Ballpark tonight, the West Michigan Whitecaps announced their newest alternate identity, and with a grand purpose. The Whitecaps will become the Grand Rapids Dam Breakers for one night only on Saturday, August 21**st**, at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at https://www.milb.com/west-michigan

“Efforts to restore the Grand River have been underway for over a decade” said Matt Chapman, of Grand Rapids Whitewater. “We are honored that the entire Whitecaps organization believes in the tremendous opportunity our community has with the Grand River. With the support and awareness from The Grand Rapids Dam Breakers, we will work to restore the rapids in the Grand River for everyone.”

The Grand Rapids Dam Breakers persona was created to bring awareness to the Grand River restoration project. Spearheaded by Grand Rapids Whitewater, the goal is to restore the rapids back to a 2.5 mile stretch of the Grand River.

“There’s no doubt the Whitecaps love Grand Rapids and the unique history our city and even our ballpark have with the Grand River,” said Whitecaps CEO Joe Chamberlin. “This Dam Breakers persona is an awesome opportunity for us to bring awareness to this very special project and we will be doing all that we can to highlight the efforts of Grand Rapids Whitewater. The Whitecaps are an important part of the West Michigan landscape, and we are excited to support this new vision of revitalization, economic growth and plenty of new fun for everyone in our community.”


Residents and visitors alike flock to downtown attractions on both sides of the Grand River. It makes smart economic sense to make the riverfront a central gathering place for everyone.

The Anderson Economic Group projects 230,000 net new visitor days and more than 500,000 people each year, a boon that translates up to almost $19 million in net economic impact for the city and 80-100 new jobs. In addition, $250+ million in capital investments are anticipated within 10 years of the project completion.

“By embracing the Dam Breakers brand our fans, business partners, and all of West Michigan can join us in helping to create momentum and support for this exciting project that has the potential to mean so much to our city,” Chamberlin added. “A healthy and thriving Grand River helps create a healthy and thriving Grand Rapids and through the Dam Breakers brand we invite all of our Whitecaps fans to be part of this historic movement,” Chamberlin said.

Consumers Energy is one of those business partners who embraces the message and already responded as the Grand Rapids Dam Breakers game sponsor on August 21**st**.

“Consumers Energy is proud to be part of this community effort to put the Rapids back in Grand Rapids – a project that will provide west Michigan families significant recreational, economic, and environmental benefits,” said Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, Consumers Energy’s vice president of customer experience. “We are committed to better protecting our planet for generations to come, and we applaud the Whitecaps, temporarily the Grand Rapids Dam Breakers, and Grand Rapids Whitewater in their mission to enhance the natural resources here in the Grand Rapids community.”

In early July, the Whitecaps began teasing the announcement and the new name with cryptic sounds of water, images of waves and dates on their social media. The announcement tonight was the collaborative work of the Whitecaps, Grand Rapids Whitewater, and Consumers Energy.

The Whitecaps organization plans to give a portion of the proceeds of all Grand Rapids Dam Breakers merchandise over to the Whitewater project.

The Grand River restoration project proposes to bring natural, cultural and commercial excitement back to our waterway by restoring a 2.5-mile stretch of the river to its rightful, rolling state. From Ann Street to Fulton Street, the project will reveal an 18-foot drop in spectacular fashion, snaking and snarling around boulders, stone and natural reefs. With this exciting feature at its heart, a new riverfront will rise.

About West Michigan Whitecaps: The Whitecaps minor league baseball team was established in 1994. The Whitecaps are the High- A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers and play in the Eastern Division of the High-A Central League. The team’s home games are played in West Michigan’s favorite, largest, outdoor, multi-purpose venue, LMCU Ballpark. For more information on Whitecaps and LMCU Ballpark visit whitecapsbaseball.com or contact Steve VanWagoner at [email protected] or 616.318.8949.

About Grand Rapids Whitewater: Grand Rapids WhiteWater (GRWW) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, formed as an outgrowth of the **Green Grand Rapids**** initiative to champion the restoration of the rapids on the Grand River. Started by Chip Richards and Chris Muller, the organization is led by Steve Heacock and Matt Chapman, and backed by an active board of directors. **

In 2013, the Grand River restoration initiative was designated an Urban Waters Federal Partnership project. Working with numerous community partners, including design experts from the River Restoration Org., GRWW has led the planning, fundraising and permitting process.

About Consumers Energy: Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.8 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Media Contacts: Katie Carey, 517-740-1739, or Brian Wheeler, 517-740-1545

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