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DeKeyser flies with the Blue Angels

Wednesday, 09.3.2014 / 1:40 PM ET / Features
By Alex DiFilippo  - Detroit Red Wings Communications Coordinator
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DeKeyser flies with the Blue Angels
Danny DeKeyser Visits Selfridge & Blue Angels (Photos by Detroit Red Wings/Dan Mannes)

Flying on the Red Wings team plane, Red Bird, for road trips during the season doesn’t bother defenseman Danny DeKeyser. Flying in an F/A-18 Hornet, well, that’s a different story.

On Tuesday, DeKeyser rode along with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Twp., Mich., experiencing first-hand several of the aerial maneuvers reserved for the best fighter pilots in the world.

And it was enough to make even an experienced traveler like DeKeyser a little queasy.

“Normally I’m a pretty good flyer and I don’t get too worried about flying,” he said. “Even with this, I wasn’t too worried about it, but I didn’t know what to expect. It was pretty crazy.”

DeKeyser’s flight featured the trademark Blue Angels vertical ascent into the sky moments after takeoff, along with plenty of barrel-rolls and dipsy-doos.

“I’m still feeling a little woozy right now,” DeKeyser said after exiting the plane. “It’s something different for sure. I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

Prior to taking flight, DeKeyser took part in a briefing to master the proper breathing techniques and learn more about the F/A-18 Hornet, which is capable of traveling at speeds exceeding 1,400 miles per hour.

Following the briefing, DeKeyser received a tour of Selfridge, with stops at several hangers to view several different aircrafts and meet their crews. The Red Wings defenseman had an opportunity to visit the robotics teams and test some of the newest technology.

“I’ve loved the Red Wings since I was a little kid,” said David VanCoillie, a logistics management specialist in the U.S. Army. “Having any representative come by is exciting, especially Danny who I think is a top-notch talent in the entire league. It was a real treat to hear that he was coming.”

Despite light rain showers throughout the afternoon, DeKeyser’s 40-minute flight went off as planned and the Red Wings blueliner wrapped up the afternoon by signing several autographs and posing for photos with the servicemen in attendance.

“You don’t get an opportunity to do something like this too often,” said DeKeyser of the Blue Angels, which are in town for the Selfridge Open House and Air Show on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6-7. “I realize what these guys do and the stuff they train for is pretty crazy. It’s a new respect.”

SCHEDULE

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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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