The Detroit Red Wings have been holding summer training events in Traverse City for years, but after the new Little Caesars Arena opened, many wondered if the Wings would stay.
After Centre Ice leaders secured a series of upgrades to the facility, the Red Wings have announced they will be staying in Traverse, at least through 2020.
According to the Traverse City Ticker:
"Centre Ice Arena will spend nearly a quarter-million dollars to upgrade its facility in order to meet new National Hockey League (NHL) safety requirements and keep the Detroit Red Wings training camp and prospect tournament in Traverse City.
Centre Ice will renovate its two rinks on Chartwell Drive following a commitment from the Red Wings to host at least three more years of training camps and five more years of NHL prospect tournaments at the arena.
Centre Ice officials learned this fall about the NHL's new requirements for rinks hosting league teams, intended to reduce potential player and spectator injury risks. News of the required upgrades – which will cost Centre Ice $110,000 per rink in renovations, or $220,000 total – caught arena management off guard, raising the prospect the Red Wings might have to move their camps and tournaments to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit after 20 years in Traverse City.
“If you’re a rink that hosts any NHL players or teams, you have to comply with these safety mandates,” says Centre Ice Executive Director Terry Marchand. “When we found out what the cost was going to be, we were obviously surprised.”
Improvements to Centre Ice’s rinks will include replacing the current tempered glass with safer acrylic glass, building a cap rail system with built-in shock absorbers, adding curved glass at the players’ benches, and installing Kevlar safety netting to protect spectators."