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Round 3
Stanley Cup Final

Red Wings' DeKeyser takes flight with Blue Angels

Wednesday, 09.03.2014 / 2:17 PM / NHL Insider

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Red Wings' DeKeyser takes flight with Blue Angels
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser experienced a 40-minute flight inside an F/A-18 Hornet jet with Lt. Ryan Chamberlain of the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels.

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser was never one to worry about the abuse his body would endure as a shot blocker in his rookie season with the Detroit Red Wings. After all, the 24-year-old Detroit native finished second on the Red Wings with 116 blocked shots in 2013-14.

But that potential bodily harm was nothing compared to the 40-minute flight he experienced inside an F/A-18 Hornet jet with Lt. Ryan Chamberlain of the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels at Selfridge Air Force Base on Tuesday in Harrison, Mich.

Right from takeoff, DeKeyser knew this would be an experience unlike any other.

"I felt like it went straight up, which was kind of weird," DeKeyser told The Detroit News. "[The pilot] guns it and we're flying over Port Huron in two minutes."

The F/A-18 Hornet has the capability of reaching 1,400 mph.

"I didn't really know what to expect, but it was awesome," DeKeyser said. "They give you a tutorial on what to do [before the procedure] and I tried to follow what they told me the best I could; they tell you how to tighten your legs and squeeze muscles."

One flight spokesman acknowledged that an individual with DeKeyser's body mass (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) might pull six times his normal body weight during the flight.

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That was something I've been dreaming of, something I've told myself before the third period I was going to do ... It was an amazing feeling. It's hard to describe. I didn't believe it went in at first but when I saw all the reaction and all the fans going crazy and my teammates going crazy, it's just an unbelievable feeling. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know whether to jump or just skate and do a Theo Fleury. I don't think I'm the same caliber player he is so I couldn't do it.

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