Avs' Patrick Roy returns to crease for alumni fest

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Denver — The alumni on the Red Wings playing tonight at Coors Field have talked about their excitement about participating.

Patrick Roy goes from behind the bench to in front of the net to represent the Avalanche as the team's goalie in the alumni game Friday.

Now, count Colorado Avalanche coach — and Hall of Fame goalie — Patrick Roy among those looking forward to the Alumni Game, from the Colorado perspective.

“I was happy to be part of it, it was great years,” said Roy after his team’s morning skate Friday at Coors Field. “We had a lot of good runs here. We played them a lot of those years and it was a big rivalry with them every year.

“If we beat them, then we (felt) we had a chance to win the Stanley Cup.”

Roy will play in net for some of tonight’s game.

“The good thing is I have to focus on tomorrow night’s game, that probably helps a lot,” Roy said. “But the fact I’ve been on the ice for 15 or 20 times it certainly helped me to feel like the best I can be.

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“I have to remind myself I’m 50 years old and I can’t play like I’m 35. I’m going out there to enjoy myself and take the time to enjoy the moment and I’m excited to see the fans and I’m sure the fans will be excited to see the players. It’s a great moment for everyone of us.”

Zach Redmond thrilled

Avalanche defenseman Zach Redmond (Traverse City Central/Ferris State) grew up a Red Wings fan in northern Michigan, so the opportunity to participate in this Stadium Series game is a thrill.

“It was hard not to,” said Redmond of growing up a Red Wings fan. “They had such a good thing going and being from Michigan, we’ve been blessed with how good the Red Wings have been our entire life.”

Redmond said this game reminds him of going out on lakes around Traverse City.

“I always had a buddy who frozed a spot in his backyard and we’d be on the ice all day every day,” Redmond said. “(Grand Traverse Bay) froze over once, it’s rare it freezes all the way through, but it did once and we got on the ice (when Redmond was 7).

“It’s fun (walking onto Coors Field).  You get the feeling of growing up on the lake in Michigan, but you look around and see Coors Field.”

Redmond, 27, is finding it difficult to crack the Avalanche lineup but he’s completely recovered from a right thigh laceration in February 2013 that almost ended his career.

“You feel lucky to still be  playing,” Redmond said. “It could have ended a lot worse.”

Ice conditions

Avalanche players said the sun made things difficult for Friday’s morning skate (a difficult glare off the ice) but it’s expected that Saturday’s game should have almost ideal conditions.

“It was bad because of the sun but tomorrow should be great,” forward Matt Duchene said. “There were some shady parts on the ice that were real good, you could tell the difference, but once you get into the sunlight it was bad. But that’s just the Colorado sun.

“As soon as it goes back (behind the clouds) it’ll be good.

“It feels awesome. It should be a lot of fun tomorrow.”

Alumni Game

Faceoff: 7 p.m. Friday, Coors Field

TV/radio: FSD/97.1