DETROIT — While their significant others took care of business on the ice, some of the Red Wings’ wives and girlfriends led the charge on the concourse of Joe Louis Arena, participating in Wings for Wishes Night.
Behind Section 126, five of the Wings’ significant others held a mystery puck draw that began when doors opened at 6 p.m. For $35, fans had the opportunity to purchase from an assortment of 300 hockey pucks signed by members of the 2014-15 team. The pucks were packaged in a black box, concealing the identity of the autograph from participating fans.
Colleen Miller, wife of Drew, was joined by Stephen Weiss’ wife, Ashley, as well as the girlfriends of Brendan Smith, Danny DeKeyser and Joakim Andersson. Miller has been participating in Wings charity events since her husband came to Detroit in 2009.
“I enjoy this one because every puck is signed, first of all, so you get something,” Miller said. “But also, all the profits go to Make-a-Wish, so 100 percent of what you’re buying goes towards the foundation, which is the important part.”
One in three pucks available were signed by Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall, Jimmy Howard, Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist. The fan that purchased and opened the puck with a golden Nyquist signature received a meet and greet following the conclusion of Thursday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks.
In the previous two seasons, Wings for Wishes raised more than $30,000, which helped Make-a-Wish Michigan grant the wishes of six Michigan children.
Bryan Gell, a Wings' season ticket holder for a third season, was quite familiar with the Wings for Wishes Night and had previously participated in mystery puck draws as well as the many other events that took place throughout the season.
“I look more highly upon the organization because of that,” Gell said. “Not that I wouldn’t come to games but it does make a big difference in how I view them with the different activities that they do.”
Each Wings player has a community program that they are active in throughout the season and events like Thursday allows the players’ family members to get involved as well.
While her husband took to the ice for warm-ups, Miller said supporting some of the initiatives, like Wings for Wishes, is a group effort.
“This is a family, we all help one another out,” she said. “This community supports not only our husbands and significant others but they support us too and we support them. Anything we can do to give back.”
Also available were Make-a-Wish T-shirts that fans could purchase for $20 to show their support for the cause. Select game-used equipment from eight different players including DeKeyser and Johan Franzen could also be purchased and a portion of the DRW Foundation’s 50/50 raffle contributed to the night’s efforts.
For those unable to attend the game, an online fundraiser also took place for anyone to participate. At DetroitRedWings.com/WingsforWishes, a designated monetary donation would earn contributors autographed Wings memorabilia, an opportunity to attend a practice or game and the chance to ride the Zamboni.
Since 1984, Make-A-Wish Michigan has granted more than 8,000 wishes to Michigan children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Make-A-Wish Michigan serves children throughout the entire state and is funded through community support.
“I think it’s a really great thing,” Gell said. “I think it’s nice that the players are involved in the different activities they do on and off the ice and also with giving away tickets to different groups. It’s nice seeing that they have family members involved in the activities too.”