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Wings expand Little Caesars AAA affiliation

by Alex DiFilippo / Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT – The Red Wings today announced the team will be increasing its amateur youth hockey outreach by expanding its affiliation with the Little Caesars AAA Hockey program. The Wings management, coaches, player development personnel, training staff and alumni will share their expertise and the club’s facilities in creating programs designed to further grow and develop the Little Caesars AAA coaches and players.

“Little Caesars AAA Hockey has been a well respected and highly recognized Detroit-based amateur hockey program for over 45 years and was a natural choice as we looked to build upon our youth outreach in the community,” said Detroit Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland. “Our goal is to share our NHL team’s knowledge and resources to help kids develop their athletic abilities while utilizing the sport of hockey to teach valuable life skills.”

The affiliation will create several highly beneficial opportunities for youth coaches and players including the opportunity to learn directly from Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock and his staff through a coach mentoring program. Little Caesars coaches will participate in a series of ongoing seminars that include first-hand interaction with the Red Wings coaching staff on all facets of the game, including the use of video analysis and breaking down film to optimize teaching young players, preparing game plans, power play and penalty kill strategies, etc.

In addition, a new amateur hockey training center will be completed this spring inside Joe Louis Arena by the Red Wings athletic training staff. The facility will include all new equipment for weight, cardio and dry land training as well as two shooting stalls on synthetic ice.

“Being a former Red Wing player and current Little Caesars AAA Hockey coach, it’s easy for me to see the benefits the Red Wings staff and alumni can provide to youth hockey players, coaches and parents,” said Red Wings Special Assistant to the General Manager Kris Draper. “I’m looking forward to inviting all of our alumni to be active in giving back to the community through this program.”

Bringing all aspects of the Red Wings organization into this initiative, a vast array of ongoing programs conducted by the NHL club’s alumni and staff will be offered including specific instruction or clinics on: Proper Player Nutrition; Face-Offs; Defensive Coverage; Fore-check; Goaltending; Individual Battles; Equipment Guidance; Nutrition and Training Tips Specific to Age Groups; Scouting and Video Analysis; Coaching Strategies; and more.

The Red Wings will continue their long-standing support at all levels of youth hockey in the community through several initiatives including learn-to-skate programs, youth hockey camps and clinics, and by providing financial assistance through unique fundraising activities. The Red Wings players, coaches and staff annually volunteer more than 1,000 hours in the community through several community initiatives including Make-A-Wish, hospital visits, school reading programs, fundraising events, affiliations with individual non-profits and collections of smoke detectors, school supplies and winter clothing.

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