DETROIT — For the first time, the Red Wings will take the ice in colors other than the traditional red and white.
The Wings will sport camouflage practice jerseys during warm-ups of Friday night's game against the New Jersey Devils. With a black-and-white winged-wheel on camo print, the jerseys will honor servicemen and women as part of Military Appreciation Night.
“I think they’re pretty cool,” defenseman Danny DeKeyser said. “I think it’s a cool thing that we’re doing for warm-ups and I kinda wish we were wearing them the whole game, that’d be sweet.”
It’s a special night and important cause for DeKeyser, who hosts a military member and one guest at every Wings home game this season as part of his Hometown Heroes initiative.
“My dad was actually in Vietnam,” DeKeyser said. “So it's something that’s pretty close to me and that’s why I think it’s a little bit extra special for me.”
DeKeyser’s camouflage warm-up jersey as well as others will be auction off at DetroitRedWings.com/camojerseyauction. The online event is currently underway and will run through Nov. 21. The funds raised from the online auction will support Help For Our Disabled Troops’ efforts to renovate the family room of Gary Thompson of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, who is battling cancer as a result of his service overseas.
The Wings will be the 27th different NHL team to wear the camouflage uniforms. It is a standard Reebok practice jersey, like the ones worn by every NHL team. The difference being the green camouflage color-scheme and the inclusion of a black-and-white logo as well as black numbers and names with white outline.
“I like them,” equipment manager Paul Boyer said. “I don’t usually veer out of the box, I’ve been here too long, I’m too old school but If it’s something we can do to help others, its for a good cause, its totally worth it.”
The NHL provides league-wide jersey options for events such as Hockey Fights Cancer and Military Appreciation Night. The templates are then provided to teams that choose to participate. Boyer initiated the effort for the Wings’ themed warm-up jerseys.
He said, “I got the email from the company and I brought the idea to Christy Hammond, our community relations person, and she said she would like to do it so we ran it by Ken Holland and Ken Holland approved it and once he got approval...we just ran with it.”
It is the first time the Wings will wear colors other than red and white but not the first time they’ve worn themed jerseys for warm-ups. In 2007, the Wings wore an assortment of throwback jerseys from Steve Yzerman’s playing career including his Peterborough Petes junior hockey jersey, Team Canada 2002 Olympic jersey and NHL All-Star team jerseys to honor him during his jersey retirement ceremony. And again in March of this year, the team wore number five jerseys during warm-ups to honor Nicklas Lidstrom during his jersey retirement ceremony.
“It’s a unique way but its the way we can do things,” Boyer said. “It’s our special way of doing things. You can stick a hat on someone or use pink tape or something like that but for this special event it’s just a unique way to help raise funds and raise awareness for these guys.”