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Wings look to defend Mackinac title

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Jim Brandstatter of the Lions, Ken Kal, road voice of the Red Wings, former Pistons forward Rick Mahorn, Tigers photographer Bill Eisner and Paws participated in Wednesday's Pro Team Challenge news conference. (Photo by Bill Roose/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – The hope is that the latest German import to represent the Red Wings will do better than previous ones did on the ice when Notso EZ Money sets sail on Lake Huron in the 2012 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race on July 14.

Notso Easy Money, skippered by Michael Medwid, of Commerce Township, Mich., will fly the Wings’ red and white colors in the third annual Pro Sports Challenge, presented by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.

“I’m pretty excited,” said Medvid, when told that his 45-foot German-made Dehler 44SQ will carry the Wings’ flag in the four-team race.

However, the pressure is on for Medvid and his crew of nine sailors, including his sons Matt, 46, and Sam, 23. The Wings are the defending challenge champions, having won last year with Sorcery, a 34 ½ foot Tartan based out of St. Clair Shores, Mich.

The July race will mark the first-ever competition for Notso EZ Money, which entered the water for the first time four weeks ago in Sarnia, Ontario, Medvid said.

“It’s sexy,” he said of his vessel with the dark blue hull. “I try to buy American, and I tried to buy an American boat but I couldn’t fall in love with any of them.”

Medvid has raced in 11 previous Bayview to Mackinac events, but this year will be his first since 2010.

“I have a boat that I’ve had since 1979 and the name of it is EZ Money,” he said. “The reason that this one is Notso EZ Money is because it took five years after I bought it to get it here and it ended up costing one and a half times what it was supposed to.”

While he hasn’t race as much as he’d have liked, Medvid has stayed active in the sport.

“I wasn’t out of sailing completely, but I was out of racing,” he said. “My business has been tough for the last 12-13 years, I own a machine shop, so I haven’t had that much time for racing. But people would still ask me why I still had the boat if I wasn’t able to use it much, but I tell them that the times that I’m on it I just love being out there.”

During Wednesday’s news conference held at Bayview Yacht Club, representatives from Detroit’s four major sports franchise picked slips in a blind draw. And there was plenty of good-natured ribbing that went back and forth between three of the team members with Jim Brandstatter of the Lions, Rick Mahorn of the Pistons, and Wings radio broadcaster Ken Kal.

The Tigers were represented by their mascot, Paws, who didn’t say much.

But Brandstatter and Mahorn said plenty, with each large man boldly predicting that their vessels would destroy the competition en route to claiming victory on the high seas this summer.

“In the two years that I’ve selected, the Detroit Lions’ boat has finished last,” Brandstatter said. “That will not happen this year! Do you understand that, Kenny, Rick, Paws? Ain’t going to happen. This year the Lions are victorious!”

Mahorn, who gained notoriety for his role as one of the Pistons’ original Bad Boys in the late-80s, took the competition a step further before picking his boat.

“Represented by the Bad Boy, of course we’re going to muscle all of the boats out of the way,” he said, “so I’m about to get this boat that’s going to kick your ass.”

But Kal took a more positive approach.

“First of all I’m not going to say that I’m going to kick anybody’s ass because they’re bigger than me,” Kal joked. “I’m proud to represent the Detroit Red Wings and as you know we’ve won 11 Stanley Cups in our tremendous history, and last year we put another champion under our belt with Sorcery. … Now the pressure is on me to pick the winner.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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