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Red Wings’ Traverse City Rookie Tournament Down to Two Teams




DETROIT — Red Wings greats Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Ilya Kovalchuk. Kari Lehtonen. Jimmy Howard. Dany Heatley. Lucas Raymond. Niklas Kronwall. Brent Burns. Alexander Semin. Scott Hartnell. Tage Thompson.

Those are just a sampling of the name NHL players who have played in the Red Wings’ hosted NHL Prospect Tournament. It has been held in Traverse City before Detroit’s training camp since 1998. At one point, it was the place to be for teams, scouts and general managers every September. In its peak years, eight NHL teams competed in the tournament. The competition had two divisions. Games were always packed.

But participation has dwindled in recent years, and Detroit GM Steve Yzerman revealed Friday that the competition for the fall is down to two teams.

“Probably not the time to announce it, but the reality is us and Dallas are going to play two games,” Yzerman said. “Things are changing, evolving in the offseason, development camps, rookie tournaments. Teams are doing different things. We’re gonna go up with our rookies and we’re gonna meet Dallas there and play two games.”

The Stars’ general manager is Jim Nill who was Ken Holland’s right-hand man for many years when the Traverse City competition was in its prime.

The tournament had four teams last year with Columbus and Toronto, joining Dallas and Detroit. Last season, was the 21st time the tournament was held.

In many years of hosting, the Red Wings have won only twice. They won in 2013 when Jeff Blashill coached the team and again in 2019 when Joe Veleno scored seven goals in four games. He was tied for the tournament points lead.