Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 7, 2013

Red Wings camp back in Traverse City this year

BY JAMES COOK
jcook@record-eagle.com

TRAVERSE CITY — Sunday was a good day for hockey fans.

And a very good one for Ken Holland.

The Detroit Red Wings general manager — who was booed when shown on the scoreboard at a Detroit Lions game during the lockout — is as relieved as anyone.

"It's a great day for hockey and our fans," Holland said. "Everybody's excited that there might be a new agreement in place. There's a process that needs to go on this week. I don't want to say too much, because I've been involved in processes where things change.

"I woke up this morning to hear the news that there's a tentative agreement in place. I think it's great for all our fans, and I think about all the people that have jobs that are an offshoot from our sport — whether they're working at the Joe or at bars or whatever. It's impacted so many people. Hopefully the process can go on this week and we can get the game back on the ice."

Holland said the Red Wings will hold their shortened training camp in Detroit this season, but will return to Traverse City this summer and fall for the NHL Prospects Tournament and the training camp for the 2013-14 season.

"In August when we canceled the rookie tournament, I talked to the other seven teams involved," Holland said. "They all committed for 2013-14 if we could get a CBA. So at this time, we'll be back for the rookie tournament and for the main camp."

The Red Wings will also hold their Skill Development camp in Traverse City, tentatively set for July 12-20.

With 2014 a Winter Olympics year, the training camp date could be pushed up about 10 days earlier than normal to allow for the break during the season for NHL players to represent their countries.

"It'll probably be around Labor Day, if the NHL players will be able to participate in the Olympics," training camp director Ann Reeves said. "But it'll be about 30 days before they have that determination."

The Winter Classic game that was scheduled to pit Detroit against Toronto in a matchup of Original Six teams will likely be the same teams next year. Traverse City Central and Traverse City West were supposed to play an outdoor game at Comerica Park as part of the run-up to the Winter Classic

"I think what you'll see is the same schedule, just a different year," Reeves said, although nothing has been set.

Givens said he was told the same thing by a representative of Olympia Entertainment.

"He said, 'If you guys want to come next year, we'll leave it as it was,'" TC Central coach Chris Givens said. "That was my understanding.

"But you feel bad for your seniors — and we've got 11 of them this year who won't get a chance to do it. But I'm happy the guys will get a chance next year."

While many fans are happy at the prospect of NHL hockey being back in as soon as two weeks, there are other who aren't as jubilant.

"I went on Facebook and it was blowing up with posts about the lockout being over," Givens said. "It was kind of funny to go through there and see the mixed reaction. You've got your die-hard hockey fans who were like, 'Oh, thank God; we're not going to have a whole winter without pro hockey.' And then you've got your other ones that are like, 'Forget those guys. I'm going to lock myself out and hope the other fans lock themselves out.' I would fall in the die-hard side, so I think it's great."

"But I think they are going to have some work to do to earn back some fans, for sure," Givens said. "They went through it last time, and it wasn't good."

Reeves said she has already started working on next year's Red Wings events.

"I'm just so excited for the volunteers and Centre ICE," Reeves said. "This is so huge for us financially. We're already starting to plan. I've been in contact with our graphic designer and we're getting started on our logos for 2013. We're already starting to plan for 2013. This has really kind of reinvigorated everyone as volunteers to jump on board, work together and better the community."