- Patrick Barron/Daily
By Colleen Thomas, Daily Sports Editor
Published July 11, 2012
DETROIT — The Winter Classic festivities have grown exponentially since the Detroit Red Wings were named the host of the 2013 edition of the hockey game, and Red Wings general manager Ken Holland looks to keep expanding.
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The Hockeytown Winter Festival — which currently includes the Great Lakes Invitational and a four-team Ontario Hockey League tournament — will have not one, but two alumni games at Comerica Park in Detroit this year.
Holland announced on Wednesday the inclusion of a second alumni game due to the sheer number of well-known alumni from both the Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“You’re going to have the greatest Red Wings and Leafs players in the history of both historic franchises, many of them on the same rink for one day,” Holland said at Wednesday’s press conference at Comerica Park. “I think it’s going to be incredible.
“We just started putting names down, and when you want to put 22 to 23 Red Wings’ names down, you leave a lot off. We’re not sure exactly how the breakdown is going to go, but we’re going to have two games.”
As of Tuesday, Red Wings Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio, Mickey Redmond, John Ogrodnick, Luc Robitaille, Dino Ciccarelli, Chris Chelios, Larry Murphy, Mark Howe, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, Joe Kocur, and goalies Chris Osgood and Mike Vernon are confirmed to attend.
Maple Leafs alumni include Darryl Sittler, Rick Vaive, Darcy Tucker, Felix Potvin, Mike Palmateer, Kevin Maguire, Dave Andreychuk, Doug Gilmour, former Wings Wendel Clark and Curtis Joseph, and Johnny Bower, Ron Ellis and Jim McKenny.
Though only the preliminary rosters were announced, Holland expects both organizations to reach out to contact more alumni. Holland said he hopes to include 40 or 50 former Red Wings, including current Michigan hockey head coach Red Berenson, who played in Detroit from 1970-75.
Alex Delvecchio, who played with Berenson from 1970-74, jokingly said he wasn’t so sure if he’d see Berenson on the ice at the alumni game.
“I’m certain he’s going to be invited,” Delvecchio said. “He was a great part of the Red Wings. (But) does he still skate?”
Though Berenson’s name wasn’t included on the preliminary roster, Holland is confident Berenson will participate in the alumni game.
“(Berenson is a) great Red Wing, and definitely should be out there playing,” Holland said. “Certainly we’ll contact Red. What we’re trying to do is contact a few (at a time), and contact a few more. Certainly Red is on our list, and I would anticipate and expect Red to be in uniform.”
Now that the NHL Draft and the July 1 free agency have passed, Holland is able to focus more time on reaching out to alumni to finalize the roster.
When will Holland contact Red?
“Probably in the next month, now that things have slowed down,” Holland said. “Guys want to make plans, and we want to make sure they get notified well in advance to commit. Red’s definitely on my list.”