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Ken Daniels continuing fight against addiction with celebrity roast of Scotty Bowman

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — It could have been easy because of the pandemic to put it off a year, but there was no way Ken Daniels was going to do that.

The work being done, and to be done, because of the Jamie Daniels Foundation Celebrity Roast is too important.

Former Red Wings head coach Scotty Bowman will be the subject of a celebrity roast Wednesday night that will benefit the Jamie Daniels Foundation.

Daniels' son Jamie died in 2016 at the age of 23 because of opioids. Ken Daniels, the Red Wings' play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports Detroit, formed the Jamie Daniels Foundation in 2018 in an effort to shine a light on substance-use prevention and recovery, guidance and support.

So, the roast this year is virtual, to be aired 8 p.m. Wednesday (and again at 9:30 p.m.) on Fox Sports Detroit and streamed at foxsports.com/Detroit.

"In an area, in the world we're in now with COVID-19, and the added pressure of those suffering with substance use disorder due to isolation, unavailability of meeting in person where for these folks social interaction is so important, I hope people will find it in their hearts to donate, to laugh, and to cry," Daniels said.

The celebrity to be roasted? Scotty Bowman, the legendary and Hall of Fame coach, who won three Stanley Cups (1997-98 and 2002) with the Wings.

“Scotty said to me when I asked him a year ago, he was coming in for Mickey’s (Redmond) roast, and I asked him if he would do it (be roasted) and he said, ‘Sure, whatever you need’,” said Daniels, the Red Wings’ television play-by-play man. “It was pretty much that simple.”

There is also a silent auction that people can also go to at JamieDanielsFoundation.org to make a donation or bid on a variety of auction items until noon Thursday. 

The importance of generating funds for the foundation is needed more than ever, given the pandemic.

Daniels said Michigan’s death rate from opioids is up 27% this year, and nationally, 185 people are dying every day from opioids.

“For those struggling with substance-use disorder, COVID exacerbates the issue, dealing with the isolation,” Daniels said.

There are long-term goals Ken Daniels wants to achieve through the foundation that he is intent on accomplishing.

More college recovery program is one goal, Daniels said, noting there is now a Jamie Daniels Memorial Scholarship to help kids in recovery at Michigan State.

"It could be alcohol, it could be drugs, it could be anything, but we need to be in more college campuses; that's one of our goals," Daniels said. "Along with the education and to get the funding, we're going to contribute or share from the foundation, for an 80-unit long-term safe recovery house for people who come out of detox and need a safe place to live and to get into the job force.

"More often than not, people who come out of detox go back home with their parents, like our son did with us, and there's just a mistrust there.

"The more we can keep this front and center, the more we can get the word out, and people will have a safe place to live."

This year's roast is a 90-minute show with stars from the hockey world and entertainment industry roasting and toasting Bowman.

Dave Hodge, the former Hockey Night in Canada host, will emcee this year's roast, with comedians Ian Bagg and Gerry Dee, along with former NHL player Dennis Hull, among the roasters.

Steven Page, founder of the Barenaked Ladies, performs "Looking for the Light", a song about recovery.

Jimmy Devellano, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan, Darren McCarty, Dominik Hasek and Stu Grimson are former Red Wings personnel who are participating in the roast, along with NHL greats such as Wayne Gretzky, Ken Dryden, former Michigan coach Red Berenson, and Larry Robinson.

Dick Vitale, actor Jeff Daniels, and JK Simmons also will pay tribute to Bowman.

2nd annual Jamie Daniels Foundation Celebrity Roast

Roastee: Scotty Bowman.

TV/streaming: Fox Sports Detroit and foxsports.com/Detroit, 8 p.m Wednesday. (re-aired at 9:30 p.m.) and televised regularly in the days ahead.

Emcee: Dave Hodge

Roasters/toasters: Dick Vitale, Jeff Daniels, JK Simmons, Wayne Gretzky, Jimmy Devellano, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan, Darren McCarty, among a long list.

Silent auction: Go to JamieDanielsFoundation.org to make a donation or bid on a variety of auction items until noon Thursday.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan