DETROIT – Bobbleheads, Fatheads and theme nights galore – it’s about that time. With the 2012-13 NHL season right around the corner, Red Wings’ fans have many giveaways and theme nights to look forward to in the upcoming months.
For the second straight year, the Wings are letting fans decide which players will be featured in the bobblehead giveaway promotion. But this year, the team is going old school.
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Known as Operation Bobblehead – Alumni Edition, fans will choose which former Wings players will be recreated into a 6½-inch character. Former captain and three-time Stanley Cup champion Steve Yzerman will be the first bobblehead distributed when the Wings face-off against the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The remaining five bobbleheads are being determined by an online voting campaign HERE. Voting began this week and will conduct on a weekly basis.
The Wings also welcome back the Fathead Fridays promotion this season. Special 5-by-7 Fathead tradeables of current Wings will be distributed to every fan in attendance at the team’s Friday home games.
Other giveaways fans can look forward to this season are Volunteer Energy Rally Towel nights, Meijer Kids Nights and the annual team wall calendar giveaway.
In addition to the fan-favorite giveaways, the Wings will also be hosting many theme nights where fans have the opportunity to give monetary and material donations to worthy causes.
For the fifth straight year, the team will devote one home game in October for breast cancer awareness as part of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer month. Hockey Fights Cancer is part of the NHL’s “Biggest Assist Happens Off the Ice” campaign, an initiative to raise money and awareness for cancer.
During the Breast Cancer Awareness Night, players use pink tape on their sticks during warm-ups and some of these sticks will be autographed and available in a silent auction along with other autographed items. Money is also raised through breast cancer merchandise sales such as pink fleece pullovers, baseball hats and winter knit hats. Last season, the event raised more than $20,000 for breast cancer patients.
The Wings also welcome back Military Appreciation Night, an event honoring military members on or around Veterans Day. Last year, Detroit collected $11,222 through monetary donations, 50/50 raffle ticket sales and by selling autographed memorabilia. Volunteers also collected 2,440 care packages, a 63% increase from 2010. Military veterans and active members on leave attended the Red Wings morning skate with their guests, were honored during the game and were guests in the Quicken Loans Budd Lynch Veterans Suite.
For the third straight season, the Red Wings will be partnering with the Marine Corps Reserve units for the Toys for Tots program. Fans are asked to bring new toys for less fortunate children in the metro Detroit area to select home games. The Wings have collected more than 530 toys and $13,800 in monetary donations for the Toys for Tots program over the last two seasons.
Initially started by Brendan Shanahan, the Smoke Detector Collection continues to honor his father’s memory with Henrik Zetterberg at the helm. Zetterberg has been the program’s spokesman since 2006 and personally matches all of the smoke detector and battery donations every year. Since its inception, the program has distributed nearly 20,000 smoke detectors to low-income residents throughout Michigan. In 2011, Zetterberg and the Wings distributed 5,065 smoke detectors to Metro Detroit fire departments.
Since 1995, the Wings have partnered with Children’s Hospital of Michigan for the Red Wings Wish Club. For a small monetary donation, fans can have their birthday and anniversary wishes displayed on the Jumbotron during the first intermission of any Red Wings or college hockey game. The program has raised more than $311,600 and granted over 3,550 wishes over the past 16 years.
Other theme nights fans can look forward to are the School Supply Collection, Mittens for Detroit Collection, Motor City Mitten Madness, Red Kettle Night, Canned Food Drive and Amway Wingman Night.
After successful first seasons, the Red Wings will host their second annual theme nights for both the School Supply Collection and the Mittens for Detroit Collection. The Wings collected more than 3,283 school supplies and $399 in monetary donations in partnership with a local non-profit Operation: Kid Equip, to help students overcome obstacles by providing school supplies, books, hygiene items and other aid. In partnership with Detroit 187 actress Erin Cummings and her charity Mittens for Detroit, the Wings collected 470 pairs of mittens and gloves in addition to $1,440 in monetary donations for the program last season.
Since 2005, the Wings have partnered with The Salvation Army for its annual Red Kettle Campaign, hosting in-game collections and participating in the annual player/management bell ringing competition. The competition consists of players and management facing off at various locations to see who can raise the most donations in two hours. In 2011, the bell ringing competition raised $17,150, a 171% increase from 2010.
For the past 19 years, Motor City Mitten Madness has helped the Wings collect new winter gear from fans at select home games in partnership with the Detroit Receiving Hospital’s Burn Center. The program brought in 716 items for homeless shelters last season, which was a 28.5% increase from 2010-11.
Hockey Fights Cancer will be the first theme night against Vancouver on Monday, October 22. Four days later, the first fathead of the season will be in every fan’s hand in Joe Louis Arena. All promotions are subject to change, but with twelve different theme nights and five different giveaways planned throughout the 2012-13 season, Red Wings fans have more than hockey to look forward to when they enter Hockeytown.