DETROIT -- Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader will make a special guest appearance with the world-renowned U.S. Navy Blue Angels on Wednesday, July 20 at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, MI.
Abdelkader’s ride will take place at 10:00 a.m. and last approximately 45 minutes. This special flying demonstration by the Navy’s elite jet team is open only to members of the media. Abdelkader will accompany Blue Angel No. 7, Lt. David Tickle, as he demonstrates the skill, power and grace of the F/A-18 Hornet while performing dives, rolls and reaching speeds approaching Mach 1.
The Blue Angels will be in Ypsilanti as the headline act for the 2011 Thunder Over Michigan Air Show, taking place July 23-24.
Abdelkader, 24, was Detroit’s second-round selection (42nd overall) in the 2005 NHL draft. The Muskgeon, MI, native appeared in a career-high 74 games for the Red Wings in 2010-11, registering career-bests with 7 goals, 12 assists and 19 points. He also led the team with 188 hits. The 6-foot-2, 205 pound left wing is entering his fourth season as a professional and is a longtime fixture of Michigan hockey. He was named to the all-state hockey team as a junior in 2004 while playing for Mona Shores high school and was chosen as Mr. Hockey that year, the award given annually to the top high school player in Michigan.
Abdelkader went on to star at Michigan State University from 2005-2008, helping the Spartans capture the 2007 NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey championship. He scored the winning goal in the championship game with just 18.9 seconds remaining. Abdelkader was named the 2007 NCAA Tournament MVP and the Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player.
He was signed by the Red Wings after his junior year at MSU and split time between the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) and Detroit during his first two seasons as a professional. In 128 career NHL games, Abdelkader has collected 25 points (10-15-25) and 98 PIM.