Sep. 14—TRAVERSE CITY — Tom Rodes says the NHL Prospects Tournament and Detroit Red Wings Training Camp never gets old.
Rodes has worked for the two National Hockey League events for more than 20 years, the last five as the training camp's director.
"There's always a bunch of new players, so it always keeps it fresh," Rodes said.
The Prospect Tournament starts Thursday with the Columbus Blue Jackets against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 3:30 p.m., followed by the Red Wings taking on the Dallas Stars at 6:30 p.m. Games and practices continue through Sunday.
The Red Wings and Stars tied for the tournament title last year, each posting 2-1 records. The tournament's winner gets rewarded with its name on the Centre Ice Arena banner, but also use of the rink's other NHL-level locker room the following year. Detroit uses its own home locker room all the time, so the Stars get the other top-notch facility this time around.
The tournament runs on a similar format this year, with each team playing three games and the champion determined by NHL points standings.
The Red Wings' other games are against Columbus at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. versus Toronto.
All remaining tickets to Prospects games are for sale only at the door, which opens one hour prior to each day's first game. Tickets to all Prospects games and the first two days of Red Wings training camp (Sept. 21-22) are all general admission instead of assigned seating as they've been in past years.
"It's critical (fans) understand that," Rodes said. "They should get there early."
Every game of the Prospect Tournament streams live on vimeo.com, with links available on Centre Ice's website under DRW Events. All Red Wings games are be carried live on DetroitRedWings.com, Red Wings Facebook and YouTube.
"Ticket sales are ahead of last year a bit," Centre Ice director Todd Spaulding said. "The Red-White game sold out quickly."
Detroit's Prospects roster includes first-round draft picks from each of the last three seasons — goaltender Sebastian Cossa (2021), center Marco Kasper (2022) and center Nate Danielson (2023). However, only three of the team's 11 selections in the 2023 draft are on the squad, including Danielson, second-round defenseman Andrew Gibson and seventh-round center Emmitt Finnie.
St. Louis dropped out of the tournament starting this year, with the Traverse City event down to four teams from eight just a few years ago as more and more similar events crop up around the NHL landscape.
The Blues, Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks — all of whom used to play in Traverse City, along with the New York Rangers — will converge on TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center in St. Paul, Minn., for the 2023 Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase.
Red Wings prospects visit Blair Elementary School on Sept. 18 to host a ball hockey clinic. The 24 attending Red Wings players will introduce students to the basic elements of hockey through hands-on instruction. The Red Wings will also gift Blair Elementary with several sets of equipment to encourage students to continue playing hockey while supporting an active and healthy lifestyle.
Follow @Jamescook14 on Twitter.