Rink upgrades needed for Red Wings to stay in Traverse City

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Traverse City —  The Red Wings have made coming to Traverse City an annual tradition for training camp, heading north since 1997.

But it’s a trip that could be ending unless funding to upgrade the Centre Ice Arena is found.

The two sheets of ice at the arena are not compliant to NHL standards — and to get them meet to those would cost roughly $200,000-250,000.

The annual eight-team NHL prospects tournament is in jeopardy of moving out of Traverse City, as is the Red Wings’ training camp.

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The upgrades are due mainly to satisfy concussion protocol, upgrading the shock absorption system on the boards but also replace the safety netting.

Terry Marchand,  executive director of Center Ice Arena, said the facility is considering a variety of ways to raise the necessary funds.

“These events are important not only for the arena but very much so for the community," Marchand said.

Red Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin said the organization is working with rink management and groups around the Traverse City area to find the necessary funding.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Martin said.

Martin said the eight NHL teams who compete in the annual prospects tournament would like to see the event continue in northern Michigan.

Otherwise the July development camp, which features draft picks and unsigned free agents, will be moved to the new Little Caesars Arena practice rink.