TRAVERSE CITY — Mike McKee and James DeHaas were two of 16 college players who had to pay their own way to participate in the Detroit Red Wings Skill Development Camp.
They were also two who cashed in.
Both college defensemen scored goals as Team Yzerman convincingly won 5-1 in the camp’s final scrimmage Tuesday.
“They can’t pay for anything, so that kind of stinks,” McKee said. “But we come up here, we spend our own money and it’s not a problem for us. It’s a great camp. We love it. We learned a lot.”
Players that are property of NHL teams through the draft can participate in these types of camps, but the team isn’t allowed to pay for travel or hotel rooms or they’d jeopardize the players’ amateur status with the NCAA.
“Hopefully one day we’ll have million-dollar contracts and a couple hundred bucks for a flight will not seem like too much,” DeHaas joked.
Both defenders were drafted by Detroit in 2012 — McKee in the fifth round and DeHaas in the sixth. McKee is the highest-drafted defenseman in the 44-player camp.
And at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, the Western Michigan University blueliner stands out.
He put Yzerman up 1-0, converting a Dylan Larkin pass 11 minutes into the first of two 25-minute periods.
DeHaas made it 2-0 just under 10 minutes later, lifting a high shot into the net off Larkin and Kyle Baun assists.
“We only get this week,” DeHaas said. “Some of the other guys get the (prospects) tournament and the main camp. For sure, I think it’s huge for the college guys to have a good week here.”
DeHaas — a Clarkston University blueliner — helped Yzerman to a 3-0 lead, setting up Hayden Hodgson goal five minutes into the second period.
Team Yzerman finished off the win with goals by Hampus Gustafsson and Alex Globke. Joe Hicketts picked up an assist.