TRAVERSE CITY — One thing this year’s Detroit Red Wings Development Camp doesn’t have that last year’s did is the threat of labor strife between owners and players.
So that alone should make for a better vibe to the upcoming camp, which begins today and goes until Monday afternoon at Centre ICE.
Last year’s Development Camp ended up being the only one the Red Wings brought to Traverse City, as the NHL lockout ultimately led to the Prospects Tournament and the main training camp being shelved for the year. None of those issues remain as the buzz begins for the first of three Red Wings camps in the area over the next two months.
“We are very excited,” said Ann Reeves, camp director. “Our bloggers and our social media folks have alerted me that we’re getting massive amounts of hits on anything we post. Last year the scrimmage was highly attended and some of the practice sessions weren’t necessarily that busy, but I do expect a little bigger turnout this year based on the sheer number of media and social media that are paying attention to us.”
With a camp roster that sits at 38 players, fans will be able to see some potential stars of the future, including first-round draft pick Anthony Mantha, taken 20th overall in the NHL draft two weeks ago. Also expected to be on hand is veteran skater Darren Helm, who is trying to get back on the ice after missing virtually the entire 2012-13 season because of injury.
“Because the (Grand Rapids) Griffins went so long I think a lot of the folks in the state of Michigan were entertained by hockey,” said Reeves. “But we haven’t seen any for two-and-a-half weeks now so people are getting hungry and they want to see some hockey.”