ESCANABA - When it comes to Detroit Red Wings fans, whether young or old, Mickey Redmond is a living legend. Older fans herald him as the first man in a Red Wings uniform to score 50 goals in one season, which he managed to do in back to back years. Younger fans recognize him as the voice of the Red Wings since he took the position as a color commentator.
One thing is certain, Mickey Redmond is in love with the game of hockey. He illustrated his undying love for the sport even further this weekend, traveling to the Upper Peninsula to participate in a benefit at the Nahma Golf Club on Friday. The contest was held in an effort to raise money for the Escanaba Area Junior Hockey Association.
The event cost $280 per team to enter, with the entry fee including green fees, lunch, dinner and an autographed photo of Redmond.
Justin Marietti | Daily Press
Mickey Redmond takes aim, Friday during the morning session of Nahma Golf Club’s 9 hole scramble to benefit the Escanaba Area Junior Hockey Association’s Blue Line Club.
"I'm good friends with the owners of the Nahma Inn, and they know the Escanaba hockey gang, so the word came out and they wanted to see if I could come up to help raise money for the hockey program. And here we are three and a half months later on a beautiful day in Nahma," Redmond said.
Although he is a resident of Detroit during hockey season, Redmond is no stranger to the U.P.
"I have property in the Eastern U.P., and my wife and I are regular visitors," he added. "We love it up here. And if you're in my business (hockey), it's great because there's plenty of Red Wings fans up here."
He also stated that while the U.P. is one of the most beautiful places to visit, it's the people that he likes the most.
"Everyone here is so kind, so generous," he said. "They are easy to be around, that's the best way that I describe U.P. people. I've said to my wife that every time we're with these folks, we have a good time. That's no coincidence; it's not an accident."
Redmond was more than happy to help out in hosting the event, because not only would he get to spend the day having fun, playing golf and meeting eager Red Wings fans, but he would be able to use his fame to do something he feels is very necessary.
"Hockey is a great game," he said. "It teaches a lot of life skills to a lot of people from young to old. For every level of the game, no matter what the level is, there is a value. It teaches tremendous core values to help people in life, which I think is important.
"It's also important for them to be a part of a team and part of a competition, although being a sportsman is most important. The values in the game really are immeasurable."
As a former player and now a commentator for the team, Redmond is naturally very devoted to the Red Wings. When Nick Lidstrom retired after last year's disappointing post-season run, it left many Detroiters wondering if more heartache was in the future. But Redmond has faith in his team.
"It does amaze me that (some Detroiters) think that we're going to be no good at all without (Lidstrom). It's kind of funny, kind of interesting, because we still have some pretty good hockey players in Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Helm, Kronwall, and so on. It'll be a real adjustment and transition year, but I think we'll be fine," he said.
He does not believe, however, that the Red Wings are without their flaws. He said that he thinks that part of the issue with the Wings is that they always finish the season well and make the playoffs, which leaves them low on the totem pole when draft time comes around.
"In my opinion, we need more grit," Redmond added. "We got a bit of it with (Jordin) Tootoo from Nashville. We need more of it. But we've been unable to draft in high positions because of the success. It's like the team has really been punished from their own success. And again, if you wish for high draft positions, then you're going to have to finish low, and I don't think they have expectations of doing that."