Detroit Red Wings: Alumni Team Raises over $100,000 for Slain Officer’s Family

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Free Press

By Rhys Richards (@RREsq)

On Friday night, the Red Wings Alumni team took on the Heroes in Blue at Compuware Arena in an effort to raise money for the family of police officer Patrick O’Rourke. More than 4,000 people attended the event.

The Joe Kocur Foundation for Children teamed up with the Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association and the Heroes in Blue, a group consisting of local police officers, to make the event happen. Officer O’Rourke was a twelve-year veteran of the West Bloomfield Police Department. He was killed in the line of duty on September 9th.

The Red Wings lineup included Joe Kocur, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, Chris Chelios, Chris Osgood, Larry Murphy, Igor Larionov, Dino Ciccarelli, Micky Redmond, Jiri Fischer, John Ogrodnick, Wayne Presley, Brian Smolinski, and Jake Chelios, among others. Red Wings great Ted Lindsay was on the Alumni team’s bench. Detroit fans heard the familiar voice of Karen Newman, who sang the National Anthem.

The Alumni built up an early lead 4-0 in the first 23 minutes of a 30-minute first half. Osgood was beaten for the first time at 23:17. The Heroes in Blue closed the gap to 4-3 by the end of the first half. Despite the remarkably quick wheels displayed by Redmond and the passing wizardry exhibited by Larionov, the highlight for Red Wings fans was seeing Chelios play a regular defensive shift with his son.

At one point in the first half, broadcaster Ken Daniels noted that the two guys worried most about their hair were fellow broadcasters Redmond and Murphy. Redmond did his best to prove Daniels he still had some of the old skills even back-checking on more than a few occasions.

At the intermission, the Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association and Joe Kocur Foundation for Children presented the O’Rourke family with a check for $100,550. Then, several Red Wings auctioned off their game worn jerseys to the crowd. While former linemates Kocur, Draper, Maltby, and McCarty battled to earn more than each other, Chelios put the rest of alumni cast to shame when his jersey garnered more than $5,000. Osgood earned the second most at $4,000.

In the second half, a 30-minute, stop time affair, the teams traded punches. The Alumni team made incredible passes and at times looked like they could all play in the NHL when it returns. At times in the second half, youngster Jake Chelios played shifts at forward, which may very well have been indicative of the Alumni team’s condition.

The Heroes in Blue took advantage of several key plays but ultimately lost 9 to 6. One Hero in Blue player allegedly became the youngest player to score on Osgood, though his age remains unknown.

About his game, Osgood told the Detroit Free Press, “Sick in the first 20 minutes. Brought back memories of the last game I played and then I hit the wall. The legs were done, the wind was done, could barely hold my head up and my arms. It was pure survival after that.”

Osgood added, “My face was really red. After the game, you analyze players. Drapes is great. Micky Redmond shocked me how good he’s still skating. Malts, he’s going to go to a hockey school this summer and work a little bit or else he’s not going to be in a game next year.”

After the game, many of the players joined the fans in the attached bar-restaurant enjoying some food and drinks and signing autographs for many.

All of the proceeds from the event will go to the O’Rourke family. The total amount raised is expected to exceed $150,000.     

Quotes obtained at www.freep.com.      

Share your thoughts about the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings, and hockey in general with Rhys at Twitter: @RREsq.  He can be reached via email at RhysJRichards@gmail.com.  Join the many fans of The Hockey Guys on Facebook and Twitter @TheHockeyGuys

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