Last night the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup! It was a tough series and they had to defeat Sidney Crosby, the fresh young face of the NHL to do it, but they got the job done and gave this state the lift we really needed. Long before the rest of the country figured out that the housing market was tanking, Michigan was not only reading, but was experiencing the writing on the economic wall. The lifeblood of our state, the hemorrhaging auto industry along with some of the highest small business taxes in the country has added up to one of the worst economic climates of my lifetime. But no matter what’s happening in politics, in business, or even in our own personal lives, Detroit has a history of being one of the greatest sports towns in America and this year’s Wings are one of the biggest hearted, classiest group of guys to ever win a championship here.
I’ll spare you all the stories (like how after winning the final game the captain first handed the cup off not to an MVP but to 39 year old Dallas Drake who nearly retired having never won a cup but decided to play just one more year…or how the starting goalie Dominik Hasek got benched after a few bad games and never complained but humbly cheered backup goalie Chris Osgood on through the finals and into hockey history…or how several players took less money to stay with the team because they love Detroit and they love and respect the people they play with too much to leave…or how one player took a troubled player under his wing and helped him get back on the team, and more importantly, back home to his family), I’ll spare you those stories because if you’re not from Detroit, if you’re not a hockey fan, if you don’t know this group of men you probably won’t understand. You’ll just have to trust me here folks when I tell you that as Lord Stanley rides down Woodward Avenue tomorrow in the parade, the sun glinting off his shiny silver lining, the streets will be framed in rivers of red and Hockeytown will rise up one more time to salute one hell of a hockey team.