By @MichaelCaples –
FLINT – The Red Wings had a special stop to make for this year’s Community Tour prior to training camp.
In a visit to the Flint Fire Department, the Original Six franchise was able to recognize Rico Phillips and make a donation to his Flint Inner-City Youth Hockey Program that earned the Michigan native and firefighter the 2019 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award from the NHL.
Tyler Bertuzzi, Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha and Michigan’s own Dylan Larkin showed up at Phillips’ day job Tuesday, where they were given a tour and a ride in a cherry picker before playing in the fire department’s first street hockey game inside the building. The Wings also presented the Flint youth program with a $5,000 donation, and the firefighters were able to keep the street hockey gear.
“When I think back to my year and how it’s been going and this opportunity, how this came to us, it’s incredible, but what’s really cool is to have the opportunity to share this with my colleagues, give them the opportunity to see what these professionals do, and have some fun,” Phillips said. “Showing off our department, showing off our station, our equipment, it’s really unique and very special.”
The street hockey game was pretty cool, too.
“I was just telling [the players] that this is the most fun I’ve ever had on this bay floor,” Phillips said. “I’ve had a lot of fun out here, but that’s the most fun I’ve ever had. It was a great time.”
Check out MiHockey’s photos and a video with comments from Larkin and Phillips below.