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Holmstrom is cherry's grand marshal

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

No stranger to parades, Tomas Holmstrom will be the grand marshal for the cherry festival parade in Traverse City on July 14. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

DETROITTomas Holmstrom will become the fourth Red Wings’ player to kick-off the annual DTE Energy Cherry Royale Parade during next month’s National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan.

The Wings’ forward and four-time Stanley Cup champion will be the grand marshal for the July 14 parade that will wind through historic downtown Traverse City beginning at the corner of Front and Railroad streets at 11:15 a.m.

Holmstrom, who just finished his 15th NHL season with the Wings, is the latest Wing so honored by the parade, joining former teammates Dallas Drake and Kevin Hodson, as well as legendary Gordie Howe, who were past dignitaries at the annual week-long celebration.

Past grand marshals to the largest parade during the cherry festival includes, U.S. President Gerald Ford, former astronauts James Lovell and Jerry Linenger, golf pro Dan Pohl, actor Jerry Mathers and comedian Bob Hope.

Besides the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels, who have collectively been parade grand marshals 10 times, the Red Wings have been a big draw for the parade as the only Michigan-based sports franchise asked back more than once. Former Phoenix Suns forward Dan Majerle was the 1991 grand marshal, and the only other athlete to represent a pro sports franchise at the parade.

But the Wings’ participation in the parade is only fitting, since the Wings have been such a huge part of the culture in the Traverse City area for the last 15 years.

Since 1997, when the organization first took its players and staff to the Traverse Bay area for training camp, the Wings continue to bring enthusiasm and sold-out crowds to Centre ICE Arena for their training camps in September.

It’s been a tremendous union ever since.

A year after the Wings first trained in Traverse City, they created the NHL Prospects Tournament that has since seen 351 alumni players graduate to the pros and play in more than 53,500 NHL games. Then last July, the Wings moved their week-long development camp up north, which they will do again this summer from July 7-13 at Centre ICE Arena.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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