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  • Detroit’s full 2023 NHL Prospect Tournament roster has ‘a great day’ holding hockey clinic for students

Students at Blair Elementary School spent their Monday morning with some special visitors.

All 24 members of the Detroit Red Wings’ 2023 NHL Prospect Tournament roster visited the Traverse City, Mich. Public school to run a hockey clinic in the gym, an experience that forward Amadeus Lombardi described as “really cool.”

“It’s fun to give back to the community and see how happy they were when we all came in,” said Lombardi, who was Detroit’s 113th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. “I remember being their age, and when an event like this happened, you’re all excited.”

Upon their arrival, the Red Wings prospects were greeted by students eagerly asking for high fives while chanting “Let’s Go Red Wings.” The players then went inside the gym, where they taught students the basics of hockey through multiple rotating stations.

Forward Marco Kasper said it was fun helping students learn skills like stickhandling, shooting and passing.  

“The stickhandling and passing part of it is hard for a lot of kids,” said Kasper, Detroit’s eighth overall draft pick in 2022. “But we’re just trying to have them work together, have fun and make a great day for them.”

After spending the past four days competing in the NHL Prospect Tournament, Monday’s event could not have come at a better time, according to Lombardi.

“It’s nice and needed to get away from the actual hockey a little bit,” Lombardi said. “Take down the stress and relax. Spending time with kids changes your mood and makes you a little bit happier. I’m very fortunate to be in this position.”

Lombardi was also part of the group that visited Traverse Heights Elementary School for a similar hockey clinic after the NHL Prospect Tournament last September. He said participating in these clinics has helped him recognize just how special the relationship is between the Traverse City community and the Red Wings.

“Traverse City helps out with the Wings a lot, so it’s important to give back as best we can,” Lombardi said. “It’s nice to see how excited everyone is and how welcoming they are to us.”

Kevin Brown, director of community impact for Ilitch Sports + Entertainment, said the presence of Detroit’s prospects at the clinic sent an important message.

“Community impact is at the heart of what we do every single day,” Brown said. “On the ice, they are performing at peak levels. And off the ice, we’re inspiring kids to dream big through events and moments like this.”

One key aspect of the clinic is encouraging students to play hockey while maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. So in addition to the interactive visit, the prospects gifted the school with several sets of Red Wings-branded equipment to help continue the advancement of the students’ life and hockey skills.

“The game of hockey is so special,” Brown said. “It gives kids opportunities to learn about teamwork and perseverance. For an event like this today, kids are getting a chance to have fun and hopefully, be inspired to continue playing the game.”

Overall, the clinic was a hit for everyone involved.

“It’s a lot of fun for us guys to come here,” Kasper said. “Especially for the young kids to meet us. I remember when I was as young as them. It would have been exciting to meet prospects and hockey players. We’re having fun and the kids are having fun. A great day for all of us.”

To learn more about the Red Wings’ dedication to providing unique opportunities that engage and develop youth throughout Michigan, click here.

This story was written by Jonathan Mills and originally posted on DetroitRedWings.com