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Ty's Friendly Skies

Friday, 02.10.2012 / 2:56 PM
By Bill Roose - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com / The Wheel Deal
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The Wheel Deal
Ty\'s Friendly Skies

Red Wings goalie Ty Conklin is a licensed private pilot, who flies a Super Cub, two-seat airplane, similar to this one.
Joey MacDonald used Thursday’s off-day to retrieve some things from Grand Rapids, including his enormous red Ford F-250, which the “Boys in the Parking Lot” affectionately refer to as Red Bird III.

But the Red Wing’ third string goaltender first needed to drum up transportation to the westside of the state. And that’s where backup goalie Ty Conklin entered the picture.

A licensed private pilot, Conks offered Joey Mac a lift, err, flight, to get his gear.

“It was good, he was awesome,” said MacDonald, of Conklin’s piloting skills. “I had to go there and he was flying anyways, so he offered to take me over.”

Flying out of Oakland/Troy Airport, the goalies took to the Wild Blue Yonder on an unusually picturesque February day in Michigan.

“It was enjoyable, a smooth ride on a clear day, you could see everything,” MacDonald said of the flight, which took 35-40 minutes from wheels up to wheels down.

Last Friday, MacDonald traveled from Grand Rapids to Edmonton – via a connector through Toronto – when he was called up by the Wings after Jimmy Howard fractured his right index finger in a shoot-out win at Vancouver.

Doctors told Howard that it would be 4-6 weeks before his finger healed, though he’s hoping to return to the Wings’ lineup a lot sooner. Still, MacDonald gives the Wings a chance to win every night. In three games, he’s posted a 1-1-1 record with a 1.83 goals-against average.

Clearly, goalies are adventurous types – anyone who stands in front of a 100-m.p.h. slap shot must be, right? – and after flying for the first time with Conklin at the controls, MacDonald said he’s entertaining thoughts of perhaps enrolling in flight school.
 
“I definitely would consider doing something like that,” MacDonald said. “I’ve always been interested in it, and I love flying. It’s fun and when you get to enjoy something like that it’s a nice hobby. … It was interesting to see what Ty has to do to fly something like that.

“He’s great, one of the best pilots, ever.”


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