Detroit — Young kids were skating all around him, skating and sliding, shooting and chasing the puck, and Red Wings forward Riley Sheahan was smiling.
Tuesday’s guest coach during the Red Wings Youth Camp at Joe Louis Arena, Sheahan remembered how about 15 years ago he was one of those pint-sized players.
“It brings back memories,” said Sheahan after Tuesday’s morning session, the sound of kids running in the corridors outside the Red Wings locker room evident. “You were that age once. It’s kind of cool, you kind of joke around with the kids.
“It’s fun to be in this setting. They’re pretty excited to be here and it’s fun to share that experience with them.”
Over 250 kids from the ages of 6 to 17 are taking part in the three-day camp which ends Wednesday.
Sheahan joined Luke Glendening (Monday) and Danny DeKeyser (Wednesday) as guest coaches during the camp.
Depending on the age group, each had some positive aspects, said Sheahan, who did plenty of instructing at hockey camps while he was at Notre Dame.
“The older kids, their attention span lasts a little longer,” Sheahan said. “The younger ones are fun to be around. They have so much energy.”
Maybe some of that positive energy can be saved for next month when the Red Wings begin training camp.
Red Wings fans have been less than enthusiastic about this offseason, which saw no unrestricted free agents arrive in Detroit — other than defenseman Kyle Quincey and forward Daniel Cleary (and likely forward Daniel Alfredsson), players who were on the roster last season.
But the Red Wings expect to be healthier this season — forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss and Henrik Zetterberg, in particular — and the maturation of Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar, among other young forwards, should make for a good season.
“There’s so much talent on the team, we have no reason not to have any success,” Sheahan said.
He was one of several young forwards who joined the Red Wings during the course of last season and showed he belonged.
In 42 games, Sheahan had nine goals and 15 assists (24 points) and a plus-8 rating, while averaging 14 minutes, 26 seconds of ice time.
“Riley had a very good year,” general manager Ken Holland said.
Having an opportunity to play regularly, and with so many of his former Grand Rapids teammates who won the 2013 Calder Cup, made for comfortable surroundings for Sheahan and increasing confidence.
“The young guys got a chance, we had some success, and we were able to contribute to the team’s success,” he said. “For sure it helps a lot seeing the familiar faces in the locker room. You can tell the chemistry is there and it translates to the ice.”