WRITER | LISA BECKER CAMPBELL
PHOTOS l PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVE REGINEK / DETROIT RED WINGS
Autumn is celebrated with many eagerly anticipated traditions in the Grand Traverse region, and the return of the Detroit Red Wings™ Training Camp is among the most treasured.
Locals relish the national franchise’s presence for the family-friendly entertainment at several events, camps, exhibition games, and a golf fundraiser. The Red Wings are pleased to revisit the region for numerous reasons, according to general manager Ken Holland.
“The fan support that our players receive during our time in Traverse City is tremendous,” according to Holland. “It really provides the young players with a glimpse of the passion Red Wings fans have and the incredible support we receive from the entire state of Michigan.”
“We welcome the opportunity to play in front of fans who might not be able to make it to Detroit for a game during the regular season. It’s a great chance for the fans to have that special interaction with our players in a smaller setting, whether it’s getting an autograph at the rink or seeing them around town. They get the chance to see our players in a much more relaxed environment before the season starts,” said Holland.
“Traverse City encompasses all of the best traits of Northern Michigan, with a small-town feel, but the players have many options available to them when they leave the rink for the day. They can golf, fish, spend some time at the beach or on the water, or go to dinner at a number of fabulous restaurants. Traverse City provides an excellent camp setting for the players and coaches to bond and spend some time together away from the rink before we return to Detroit for the long grind of the regular season,” he said.
CAMPS AND TOURNAMENTS
The 2017-18 Red Wings hit the ice in Traverse City the morning of Friday, September 15, and continue daily through Monday, September 18. Red Wings players, prospects, and tryouts will be divided into teams that will practice and scrimmage throughout camp, concluding with the annual Red and White Game on September 18. Training Camp practices are open to the public with a $10-$20 entry fee. A full camp roster and the complete training camp schedule can be viewed at CentreIce.org.
“The facilities at Centre Ice are excellent and fulfill our needs for each event we hold in Traverse City, especially with the recent arena renovations to include the Scouts Lounge and the new locker rooms. It’s a tremendous venue to evaluate players, and the Centre Ice staff goes above and beyond to make sure we have everything we need during our stay,” stated Holland.
The Training Camp Alumni and Celebrity Game will also return for a fifth consecutive season, taking place on Saturday, September 16. Last year’s game included numerous Red Wings front office staff and coaches, including Holland, head coach Jeff Blashill, and former players. The Red and White Game and the Alumni and Celebrity Game are $20-$30 for both.
In addition, the NHL™ Prospect Tournament returns to Traverse City for the 19th season, running from Friday, September 8 through Tuesday, September 12.
Over the tournament’s history, 500 skaters and 52 goaltenders have moved on to play in at least one NHL game. The event includes 26 of the 35 players who played for the Red Wings in 2016-17. Hundreds of prospects and players have gone on to play in the NHL, according to their website. The Prospect Tournaments cost is only $10 for daily admission.
The 19th Training Camp Golf Classic presented by Eitel Dahm Motor Group kicks off the Red Wings Training Camp on Thursday, September 14 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in nearby Acme.
Proceeds from all three of the Red Wings’ events in Traverse City benefit Involved Citizens Enterprises (I.C.E.), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing affordable skating programs to Northern Michigan.
NEW ONLINE TICKET SALES
Tickets for all Red Wings events are available exclusively online this season at CentreIce.org/drwtickets and are sold first come, first served at the arena entrance on the day of each event. For additional information, call (231) 933-7465 or visit CentreIce.org.