Thursday, May 31, 2007

Red Wings training camp tix on sale Saturday

If the third time is the charm, then the tenth time must signify a certain degree of intransience.

That decade of durability is what will be celebrated at the 2007 Detroit Red Wings Training Camp, set for Sept. 13-18 at Centre ICE arena in Traverse City. The 10th anniversary gets underway in earnest this Saturday, when camp tickets are offered for public sale from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Centre ICE.

The 10-year yardstick has offered camp officials a chance to reflect on the bigger-picture success of the event, which has traveled the path from conception to annual phenomenon.

“When we started, did we think we’d still be here 10 years later?,” mused Training Camp director Pete Correia. “Oh my gosh, no. Absolutely not. Why would we? We were just happy to pull off that first camp, but the whole thing has really developed into something that the community has really accepted into the local culture.”

According to Correia, the reason that Red Wings players and staff return to the region each fall to kick off another season is simple: It’s a great place to be.

“They used to do it right at Joe Louis Arena – guys would drive to practice, work out, and go home,” Correia explained. “Up here, they have a chance to get away and bond a little bit. It sounds simple, but they seem to think it’s pretty important. They love the area – the golfing, the fishing, the water - just the atmosphere.”

In addition to the volunteers who staff the events, the way the players are treated up north that adds an extra human element to the equation.

“I think the people up here just let them breathe a little, allow them to be themselves and enjoy their time here,” Correia surmised. “From early on, I have heard that from the players themselves. For example, we have a barricade set up around the autograph area outside Centre ICE, and our fans are very respectful of that barrier. Up here, it’s a barricade. Downstate, it’s just a hurdle.”

This year’s camp will feature as many as 60 players, which will be divided into three teams. The first three days of camp will consist of intrasquad games and on-ice workouts from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Tickets for those sessions are $15 each. On Sept. 17, the top players compete in the annual Red & White Game at 6 p.m. ($25), and a unique affair caps the camp on Sept. 18: a 4-on-4 intrasquad game at 5 p.m. Tickets for the open-ice affair are $10, which includes a hot dog and soda.

“We certainly haven’t got it all figured out by any stretch – there are always challenges to putting on a first-class camp,” Correia said. “But we have such a great group of local volunteers who are organized, disciplined, dedicated and professional - and that resonates with the team, no question about it. They keep coming back for a reason, and we’d like to keep it that way.”

2007 Detroit Red Wings Training Camp Schedule

Thursday, Sept. 13
Physicals, Golf Outing (1:30 p.m. at GT Resort), Dinner

Friday, Sept. 14
Intrasquad game, On-ice workouts, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ($15)

Saturday, Sept. 15
Intrasquad game, On-ice workouts, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ($15)

Sunday, Sept. 16
Intrasquad game, On-ice workouts, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ($15)

Monday, Sept. 17
Red & White Game, 6 p.m. ($25)

Tuesday, Sept. 18
Four-on-Four Game, 5 p.m. ($10 includes hot dog & soda)

TICKETS: On sale Saturday, June 2 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Centre ICE


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