Red Wings Call Traverse City Home for Training Camp

We’re already a couple weeks into September and you know what that means – we’re getting even closer to NHL preseason hockey! Specifically for the Detroit Red Wings, the preseason puck drops at the end of this month on Sept. 30 at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.

But first, before that, they actually have another home not named Little Caesers Arena. Just under a four-hour drive north via I-75 (255.5 miles mainly, but who’s counting?), the Red Wings will find themselves in northern Michigan, with Traverse City being their home for a few weeks.

NHL Prospect Tournament

It all starts this week on Sept. 16, when Hockeytown’s new makeshift town in the nation’s ‘Cherry Capital’ will play host to an NHL Prospect Tournament at Centre Ice Arena, which according to the arena’s press release, “will host the Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs for five straight days of round-robin action, with each team playing either three or four games.”

The prospect roster that’ll be skating was released by the Red Wings, which according to Kyle Kujawa is “highlighted by three recent first-round picks: center Joe Veleno (30th overall, 2018), right wing Lucas Raymond (4th overall, 2020), and goaltender Sebastian Cossa (15th overall, 2021).”

Prospect Training Camp

There’ll be even more hockey with Wings prospects going at it from Sept. 23-28, which will give Jeff Blashill, Steve Yzerman, and company an even better idea of where they stand as a team heading into the preseason. I’m sure that will include zeroing in on the guys who played in the prospect tourney which will parlay into the prospect camp.

Red Wings Golf Tournament For a Good Cause

Sprinkle in some golf (because hockey and golf just seem to go together, don’t they?), and a tourney will be held at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, according to the press release. It goes on to state, “Proceeds from the tournament benefit Involved Citizens Enterprises (I.C.E.), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization providing affordable skating programs to Northern Michigan.”

If you were wondering what this all looked like, well one of the best to ever don the red and white has your back:

See? There’s no place like home, and TC is no different from Detroit, where as you can see there’s a little bit of everything. That hospitality welcoming other NHL teams to their home, giving back to their neighbors, and all the while competing and having some fun as a Red Wings family.

My Experience in Traverse City

I remember when I worked as a reporter in northern Michigan, one of my assignments was to head to the venue, and what I can tell you is that it’s just a cool setting. It’s a lot smaller than your typical NHL venue, but that just takes you back to when you skated as a kid with hopes of making it to the NHL. Yes, that undeniable smell of a hockey rink simmers in the air.

Well, that’s what you have at Centre Ice Arena, similarly having these prospects within a grasp of reaching their NHL dreams.

Detroit Red WIngs prospect Jake Paterson tends goal during the 2014 Detroit Red Wings Prospect Scrimmage in Traverse City, Michigan. (Photo: Zackary Landers)

What I can also tell you, is that the surrounding areas throughout Traverse City and northern Michigan is a dream setting, as well. Just as the Wings’ front office will take their pick of which prospects they think stand out from these weeks, you can really take your pick of what to explore off the ice.

Around a two-hour drive up north, you cross the scenic views across the Mackinac Bridge to America’s hidden gem: the Upper Peninsula. A ferry ride across the lake, you’ll get to Mackinac Island filled with fudge, horse-drawn carriages, and a step back in time. There’s literally no cars allowed on this island. It can be a day away from the Motor City to motor your internal engine, and get back to the grind, hoping to make one of the lines with the Wings.

From the bay with views of Lake Michigan to Sleeping Bear Dunes to the vineyards to the local eateries and coffee shops to a quaint downtown to, of course, the cherries. Cherry pie, cherry coffee, cherry jam, cherry chocolate, cherry salsa, cherry everything.

For these prospects, the cherry on top will be having that meeting with Blashill and Yzerman, getting that call up, hearing they’ve made a NHL roster. It all starts at Hockeytown’s second home…in Traverse City, Michigan.

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