DETROIT -- Giving back to the community is very important to Michael Rasmussen and Christian Fischer, who stopped by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan’s (BGCSM) Eastpointe Club on Wednesday afternoon for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on a brand-new Esports Lounge.

As part of a $300,000 investment between the Detroit Red Wings Foundation and The Children’s Foundation, the Eastpointe Club’s Esports Lounge will help strengthen the career and entrepreneur pipeline for local youth and is a key component of the Red Wings’ innovative Learn, Play, Score platform.

“It’s such a cool thing to do,” Fischer told on Wednesday. “It’s a privilege, as a professional athlete, being able to give back to your community that you play in. These are the fans and kids who show up to our games and watch us on TV. It’s super, super cool to be able to give back to them.”


The Eastpointe Club’s Esports Lounge is the fourth lounge, modeled after the Red Wings’ dressing room at Little Caesars Arena, that has been built at BGCSM locations since 2020.

Rasmussen said he was very impressed by the innovative gaming space.

“We didn’t really have that kind of stuff when we were growing up,” Rasmussen said. “Obviously we had (video games) at home, but nothing like that lab in there. It’s a pretty cool setup, kind of the new way of the world. It’s great (the kids) have access to it and that we could be part of it.”

In addition to year-round programming for BGCSM members, the facilities provide paid workforce development and industry experience for Detroit youth through the BGCSM Industry Club.

Fischer said there real-world opportunities that exist within Esports are exciting.

“I think when I was 7, 8, 9 years old, we were yelled at not to play video games,” Fischer said. “Now that you can make millions of dollars and a career out of it in the gaming world, I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty cool. You see all the kids in there, a lot of them have a passion for it.”


After competing against BGCSM kids in the NHL ’23 video game, the Red Wings forwards exchanged their video-game controllers for hockey sticks and played floor hockey in the club’s gymnasium alongside Learn, Play, Score program ambassador and 2023 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award winner Jason McCrimmon.

“I think the biggest thing for me is giving back and being part of stuff like this,” Rasmussen said. “Anything to be with kids and showing them hockey, the thing that we love to do, that combination is special for me.”

As a professional athlete, Rasmussen said he takes great pride in being a role model for the next generation.


“We just want to do the best by the community that we can and give back the best we can,” Rasmussen said. “It’s just really nice to be here and meet all these kids. They’re really interested in hockey.”

Positively motivating youth is also fulfilling for Fischer, who said community-oriented events like Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony are empowering.

“Even to interact with them and play games, hopefully you can inspire a kid or two to maybe play hockey,” Fischer said. “If we can get maybe one kid here to potentially play in the NHL one day, how cool would that be?”