Friday, September 07, 2007

Former collegians aiming for the NHL

It’s September once again and the Detroit Red Wings are in Traverse City. That can only mean one thing: training camp has begun at Centre ICE Arena.

As fans flock to one of northern Michigan’s premier vacation spots to see their hockey heroes, they can also get reacquainted with a smattering of collegiate players that they may have rooted either for or against in the past.

Former Northern Michigan University Wildcat Dallas Drake in one of them and is now in his second stint in the "Winged Wheel."

The 14-year NHL vet has amassed 174 career goals and 471 total points and will be looked to for providing a little grit, and maybe some scoring, from the right side. Drake and defenseman Brian Rafalski, a Dearborn native, were the Wings main free agent pick-ups over the summer and will certainly be lacing up their skates this season in Hockey Town.

A few other names you might remember aren’t such sure bets to make it to Detroit.

Michigan Tech's former captain Brett Engelhardt spent the last two seasons with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL and has a two-way deal with the Wings.

Jon Insana (pictured with the Grand Rapids Griffins) skated four years on the blue line at Michigan State University before floating around the last five years in the ECHL, UHL and AHL.

Dominic Vicari put in three years between the pipes in East Lansing before spending the majority of last season with the ECHL’s Toledo Storm and one game up in Grand Rapids with the Griffins.

The Red Wings training camp begins today and concludes on Tuesday, September 18.

This year there will also be eight NHL teams sending players to Traverse City for the annual Prospects Tournament.

Former collegians returning home include Western Michigan's Paul Szczechura (Dallas Stars), MSU’s A.J. Thelen (Minnesota Wild) and Corey Potter (New York Rangers) and Northern's Dusty Collins (Tampa Bay Lightning).

The Prospects Tourney begins today and will finish up with the championship game on Tuesday night, September 11.

For a terrific snapshot look at this year’s training camp, please visit RedWingsCentral.com.

1 comment:

Peter Garrett said...

Nice story. You dudes always have fresh stories. Even in the summer. I like that a lot. Too bad some of the bigger college hockey sites can't update their sites so quickly.

I think the Wings will be okay this year, but not Stanley Cup contenders. I don't think Rafalski and Drake are enough.