DETROIT – Hockey Weekend Across America kicked off in Detroit for the Red Wings players and staff with a multitude of events taking place on what was dubbed Michigan Hockey Day. The day began with the opening of 97.1 The Ticket's annual SportsFest at Suburban Showplace in Novi. Red Wings alumni Tomas Holmstrom and Nick Lidstrom were on hand to sign autographs as each of the four Detroit sports teams had interactive showcases for sports fans to come check out. Always a fan favorite, the Red Wings Experience took it up a notch this year and unveiled an indoor synthetic ice skating surface, Xtraice.
Back at Joe Louis Arena, the Detroit Red Wings Kids Club presented by Michigan First Credit Union Money Kids, was holding a private practice for club members. The kids were seated in the stands behind the team benches and watched as Coach Babcok and the coaching staff took the Wings through a full practice. As the players left the ice, members of the Wings Staff held a raffle and awarded prizes ranging from a Justin Abdelkader autographed CCHA puck to a stick Cory Emmerton had broken in practice. The final prizes awarded were for 4 lucky attendees to join Kids Club Honorary President Niklas Kronwall on a private tour of the Wings locker room. Once inside the kids got to see the stick room, weight room, dressing room and even had the chance to meet Red Wings Captain, Henrik Zetterberg. At the conclusion of the tour Kronner returned to the stands and signed autographs for every kid in attendance.
Kids Club kids weren't the only father son duos in attendance at Wings practice. Yesterday marked the start of the annual Fathers Mentors trip in which the Wings players and coaching staff invite their fathers, father in-laws, brothers or mentors on the road with the team. This annual trip allows the family members of the Wings a chance to see what daily life in the NHL is like, and is also a chance for Wings players and coaches to say thank you for the support and mentor-ship that helped them achieve their NHL dream. New this year is "Dad Cam" as Dean Miller agreed to take along a GoPro camera for Red Wings TV and capture impromptu interviews, behind the scenes moments and whatever else may catch his eye. That footage will run as a feature next week on DetroitRedWings.com.
Out in Plymouth it was time for hockey novices to "Learn to Play" through a try hockey for free clinic supported by Michigan Amateur Hockey Association, (MAHA) and the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. The hour long clinic was open to children ages 4-9. All necessary equipment and instruction was provided. Try Hockey for Free Clinics continue throughout Michigan until March. To find a clinic in your area, or for more information visit DetroitRedWings.com/YouthHockey
Back at the Joe it was time for high school hockey to take center ice as the Catholic League hosted its girls and boys championship matches at Joe Louis Arena. First up was the girls championship featuring Ladywood and Mercy. Mercy took home the victory 7-2. Next up it was Riverview facing off against Shrine. Riverview took the division championship with a final score of 6-1. The final game of the night was an overtime victory by Brother Rice over St. Mary's. Final score of that contest was 4-3.
Hockey Weekend concludes for us tonight as the Wings face the Wild in Minnesota. Puck drop is at 6:00 p.m. ET. Catch Ken Kal and Paul Woods calling all the action on AM1270 or catch up with Mickey Redmond and Ken Daniels by tuning in to Fox Sports Detroit.
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