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Wings honor Mackinac race winners

Saturday, 11.5.2011 / 5:49 PM ET / News
By Zack Crawford  - DetroitRedWings.com Intern
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DETROIT – While the hockey team rested in the off-season, the Red Wings organization was busy winning a different kind of trophy.

In this summer’s 87th Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, the Wings sponsored Sorcery, a 34 ½ foot sailboat that beat out the three other Detroit professional sports teams to win the Pro Team Challenge Cup.

Sorcery’s eight-man crew — veteran sailors Steve Tepel, Brian Smith, Larry Smith, Jeff Rayla, Dan Gidcomb, Jim Fisher, Bert Phillips, and Steve Harthorn — was honored during last Tuesday’s game against the Calgary Flames at Joe Louis Arena.

The Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association inaugurated the Pro Team Challenge Cup in 2010. Each year, the Pistons, Tigers, Lions and Wings randomly pick a boat to represent their teams in the Shore Course, a 204 nautical mile race that follows Michigan’s coast from Port Huron to Mackinac Island.

From a field of 220 sailboats, the Wings selected Sorcery, an eleven-year-old cruiser owned by Larry and Brian Smith, a father and son duo that sail out of Bayview and Great Lakes Yacht Clubs.

Altogether, the eight men who sailed Sorcery — old friends on and off the water — have participated in 144 “Macs”. The Wings equipped the crew with hats, shirts, and a flag that was proudly flown through the race.

After heading through some squalls at the beginning of the race, Sorcery crossed the finish line in 37 hours and 13 minutes.

“It’s kind of a grueling race,” said Jim Fisher, a veteran sailor who traces his love for the Wings back to his father, a Detroiter who used to sneak into Olympia Stadium to watch the team practice. “You’re out there in the middle of Saginaw Bay and you don’t see land. Hopefully you’re not in the doldrums where there’s no winds.”

The honor of representing the Wings not only gave the crew something else to push for, but it also kept them in the public eye, as the Bell’s and Bayview websites tracked all participating boats with Global Positioning Systems. Fans of all teams were able to check up on the progress of their team’s boat throughout the race.

“It was fun because people paid attention to it,” Steve Harthorn, a former Wings season ticket holder from Grosse Pointe Farms said. “More people knew we were the Red Wings boat, so I heard about it from my friends, and you don’t usually hear about it.”

Along with family, friends and representatives from the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association and Bayview Yacht Club, Sorcery’s crew watched the Wings-Calgary matchup from a suite at the Joe. They were featured on the Jumbotron between the first and second periods.

“It’s a lot of fun,” skipper Brian Smith said. “It’s more about friendships than anything else. Sailing is secondary.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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