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Wings' school program is off and running

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith on his visit to St. Hugo on the Hills Catholic School this week.

DETROIT -- Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith kicked off the third year of the Red Wings School Assembly Program with a visit to St. Hugo of the Hills in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., on Wednesday, Sept. 4. The School Assembly Program is sponsored by the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and The Kroger Company of Michigan.

Smith and the Red Wings school assembly team introduced more than 500 elementary students to the sport of hockey through a youth street and floor hockey initiative. The Wings provided equipment and hands-on instruction to familiarize kids with the sport of hockey and to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle.

The school assembly team opens every program with an interactive lesson on exercise and healthy eating, followed by an energetic hockey shootout competition pitting students against teachers. New to the program this year, the assembly will address the growing issue of bullying.

Each school receives two full sets of floor hockey equipment complete with hockey sticks and nets courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, as well as a Red Wings folder and a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan life - size growth poster featuring Smith.

Now in its fourth year, the Red Wings school assembly team has visited 227 local schools, reaching more than 105,000 students and providing 654 sets of equipment to physical education departments throughout southeastern Michigan. Notable players and alumni such as Niklas Kronwall, Todd Bertuzzi, Kris Draper, Chris Osgood and Kirk Maltby have each attended an assembly.

A special fundraising initiative administered by the Red Wings school assembly program has helped local students raise more than $85,000 since 2011 for a variety of charitable endeavors.

This season, the Red Wings school assembly team plans to make 115 appearances. The most up-to-date schedule can be found at

ABOUT THE DETROIT RED WINGS FOUNDATION: The Detroit Red Wings Foundation is an affiliate of Ilitch Charities, a 501(c)(3) organization. The Foundation invests in the future of our community by providing funds and resources to worthy causes that contribute to the growth of the sport of hockey. Ilitch Charities is a non-profit organization that invests in our community’s future by supporting innovative, collaborative and measurable programs in the areas of community development, human services, education and recreation through contributions from the Ilitch companies, their colleagues and the generosity of others. For more information, please visit

ABOUT BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan supports community efforts across the state that improve lives and promote healthy lifestyles. It invests in local communities by supporting organizations that share its commitment in leading Michigan to a healthier future.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million members residing in Michigan, in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who reside outside the state. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit

ABOUT THE KROGER CO. OF MICHIGAN: Incorporated in Michigan in 1909 and headquartered in Novi, The Kroger Co. of Michigan includes 16,000 associates, 130 Kroger stores, 45 fuel centers, 104 pharmacies and the Michigan Dairy.

Kroger focuses its charitable efforts on supporting hunger relief, health and wellness initiatives, and local organizations in the communities it serves. The grocer has a long history of charitable contributions and was recently named number one among America’s most generous companies in a Chronicle of Philanthropy listing featured in Forbes Magazine. The list recognized companies that give back the most, with Kroger ranked first among companies contributing the largest percentage of their pre-tax profits. For more information about Kroger, please visit

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