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Abdelkader returns home

by Christy Hammond / Detroit Red Wings
MUSKEGON, Mich. – The Red Wings ended their third annual community relations tour with a homecoming celebration for forward Justin Abdelkader at Churchill Elementary School.

While only his fifth-grade teacher still teaches at the school, the Mona Shores-native and four of his teammates – Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves – entertained a crowd of over 350 students and parents at his former elementary school.

“It’s a great opportunity to come back to my old school here and bring some of my teammates,” Abdelkader said. “I’m proud to come back and say I’m a Sailor.”

The Red Wings’ players answered questions, which ranged from asking if the players had lost a tooth to their favorite place to play on the road. Following the 30-minute question-and-answer session, the Wings presented principal Mark Platt with a custom jersey with Churchill and the No. 10 on the back of the jersey, which had been autographed by all five players.

Each grade took the opportunity to pose with the Red Wings’ quintet for a class photo with each student high-fiving their hockey heroes as they left the gym to return to class.

Earlier in the day, Abdelkader and Miller presented a check totaling more than $22,000 on behalf of their Spartan Buddies program to Sparrow Hospital Children’s Center. The visit also provided a chance for the two Michigan State alumni to meet some sick kids in playroom in the pediatric ward.

“That’s the priceless part, putting a smile on their face,” Abdelkader said.
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