Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 15, 2011

Wings development camp may return to TC


TRAVERSE CITY — There’s a good chance the Detroit Red Wings Development Camp will return to Centre ICE next summer.

“That’s the game plan,” assistant GM Jim Nill said Thursday after the week-long skills camp for the organization’s top prospects concluded. “We’re going to look at it, but it seems to make sense to have it up here.

“With the building we have here, with the added dressing rooms, it’s just a great situation for us.

“And it’s a great atmosphere (for the players). It gives them a chance to bond. They’re out playing mini-golf or out on the beach at night. They’re getting to know each other. That’s how you build a bond and that makes you a team down the road. It’s worked out well here.”

Nill told Ann Reeves, camp director, that he would get back to her in a couple of weeks regarding next summer’s plans.

“They definitely want to come back,” she said. “They’re going to go back and evaluate the costs, but (Nill) told me he wants to look at the calendar and get a date set for next year. That’s wonderful news.”

The camp was originally held in Troy and then later moved to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

But a power outage in Detroit last summer interrupted camp.

“We ended up losing our ice,” Nill said. “We couldn’t work out.”

So the Wings began discussions with Centre ICE officials about moving it here.

“This year has definitely been the most exciting camp for us as a staff and for the players,” said Jiri Fischer, director of player of development. “There’s always something to do here.”

The 40 players arrived in town last week during the Cherry Festival.

The only hiccup came Monday when on-ice practice had to be canceled when a compressor at the arena went down.

“That was a gut-wrenching morning, having to call Ken (GM Ken Holland) and Jim and telling them we had a problem,” Reeves said. “They came up here, not solely because of, but it was driven by their facility issue downstate. I was nervous about that. In hindsight, from what Jim told me today, they’re going to schedule a day off next year because it was to their benefit to do so, to give the boys a day off. This camp was longer in duration days wise (eight days), and also longer by the day (mostly 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). So there was a silver lining in it. We’ll plan some fun things for them to do in the area that day (next year).”

Several of the developmental players will return for the annual Prospects Tournament here Sept. 10-14. The Red Wings main camp follows Sept. 17-22.