Future of Red Wings training camp in Traverse City questionable

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- The Detroit Red Wings are ready to take on their season after finishing up training camp Monday at Centre Ice Arena.

But the future of their time in Traverse City could be in jeopardy, if Centre Ice doesn't upgrade their facilities.

The NHL came down with new regulations for all arenas that host games, prospect tournaments, or training camps.

And for Centre Ice, those upgrades come with a big price tag.

“It’s my vacation every year,” said Saginaw resident, Mary Leary. “I take vacation come up here we got a whole group of people that we hang out with it's really fun it's just a blast.”

For 20 years, Leary has made her way to Centre Ice Arena for the Red Wings training camp.

“The camaraderie is great,” said Lerie. “We get to meet the players like super close and you get to freak out because you're super close to the players.”

The Red Wings have made Traverse City Hockeytown North since 1997, but the NHL now has new regulations for any rink that hosts their teams, to make it safer for players.

For Centre Ice to keep hosting, they will need to upgrade their boards, glass, and netting.

“It would mean 110,000 per rink so with our two rinks it would be $220,000,” said Centre Ice executive director, Terry Marchand.

Marchand says that's a big investment for the arena that only needs those upgrades a couple weeks of the year.

“For us to spend that kind of money though we really need a commitment,” said Marchand. “We’re in the middle of discussions with the Red Wings about getting some type of commitment.”

And for a town that relies on tourism, losing the Red Wings camps wouldn't go unnoticed.

“A lot of money is spent here over the course of the prospect camp and the training camp and so it is a very significant event especially in a month like September when school is gone back into session,” said Traverse City Tourism CEO Trevor Tkach.

Marchand says the players also love it, so they're hoping they can find the money for the upgrades.

“We take such good care of them and we do a good job we've been doing it for a long time we take a lot of pride in it,” said Marchand.

Marchand says the upgrades wouldn't just be beneficial for the Red Wings, but would make it safer for everyone who takes the ice at Centre Ice.

He also says the Red Wings camps make up a significant part of Centre Ice's budget, so losing that would also be a big hit for them.

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