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Thanks for your support, Hockeytown!

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Detroit fans celebrate their Red Wings during a game at Joe Louis Arena. The organization and their fans will celebrate 200 straight home sellouts on Wednesday. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – The Red Wings will celebrate a tremendous milestone with their fans Wednesday night.

“It’s remarkable,” said forward Justin Abdelkader when asked about the current sellout streak that will reach 200 consecutive games this week. “We have such great support here in Detroit, the best fans, I believe. “It’s a credit to the organization, the success that the management group and the ownership has put on ice and just the loyalty of the fans.”

The sellout streak, which includes postseason games, began in the second quarter of the 2010-11 season when the Red Wings hosted the Dallas Stars on Dec. 19, 2010. Detroit suffered an overtime loss in that contest, but since then the Wings have compiled an impressive .628 winning percentage with a home record of 98-52-30 through the regular season.

The streak also includes the 2014 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium and 18 postseason games at Joe Louis Arena. With the record crowd of 105,491 that braved the snow and frigid temperatures at the New Year’s Day game in Ann Arbor, more than 4 million fans have attended Wings home games in nearly five seasons.

As a way of thanking their fans, the Red Wings will give away 200 prizes to those at Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins, including Little Caesars five-game ticket combos, autographed Wings merchandise and memorabilia, tickets to upcoming home games and other Olympia Entertainment events, as well as a number of gift cards from team sponsors.

“Our sellout streak would not be possible without the tremendous loyalty and support we’ve received from the fans of Hockeytown,” said Tom Wilson, president and CEO of Olympia Entertainment. “We look forward to celebrating this milestone on Wednesday night with an electric atmosphere within The Joe as we recognize fans for their continued support throughout the last five seasons.”

Additionally, the annual game on the night before Thanksgiving will mark the first time fans will have the opportunity to purchase the newly unveiled 2016 Stadium Series jersey that the Red Wings will wear during their outdoor game against the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 27 at Coors Field in Denver. The jerseys will be available for purchase at merchandise stands throughout JLA during all remaining Red Wings home games.

The atmosphere created by the fans at The Joe gives the Wings a definite adrenaline boost, though the same is true on the road where conglomerations of loyalists are often seen dressed in Wings’ apparel in arenas around the league.

“I really compare it to almost like the (New York) Yankees,” Abdelkader said. “It’s just a brand that travels that people recognize, obviously an Original Six. The success we’ve had, 20-plus years, Stanley Cups, I think it’s easy for people to gravitate towards winners, and that’s what this organization has been.”

The third-oldest NHL building currently in use, Joe Louis Arena has hosted 1,557 regular-season and playoff games since it opened in Dec. 1979. The Joe will host its 1,400th regular-season game when the Red Wings face-off against the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 23.

The Red Wings plan to move out of The Joe following next season. They will head up Woodward Avenue to the new Detroit Events Center, which is currently in the construction phase and should be ready for the 2017-18 NHL season.

The following milestones occurred at The Joe during the sellout streak:

JAN. 12, 2011 – Three significant milestones were reached when the Red Wings defeated the Phoenix Coyotes, 3-2, in a shootout. Danny Cleary collected career assist No. 200, while coach Mike Babcock and goalie Jimmy Howard earned career wins 400 and 100, respectively.

FEB. 10, 2012 – Forward Tomas Holmstrom played in game No. 1,000 of his NHL career, joining Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman and Kris Draper as the only players to appear in 1,000 games for the Red Wings.

FEB. 12, 2012 – Nicklas Lidstrom skated in career game No. 1,550, passing hockey hall of famer Alex Delvecchio for second-place on the Red Wings’ all-time games-played list.

FEB. 14, 2012 – The Red Wings won their 21st straight home game, defeating the Dallas Stars, 3-1, and establishing a new NHL record for home wins. Detroit added two more wins, boosting its league mark to 23 straight home wins.

MAR. 9, 2015 – Evgeny Romasko made history, becoming the first Russian-born referee to work a regular-season game in the NHL. The 33-year-old's first assignment was to work the Detroit-Edmonton game with veteran ref Paul Devorski at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings won 5-2.

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