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July 31, 2012

Weidenbach again part of Red Wings prospect camp as skating instructor

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Weidenbach again part of Red Wings prospect camp as skating instructor
Cranbrook boys hockey coach Andy Weidenbach is pictured during the Red Wings’ 2012 prospects camp. This was the fifth consecutive year Weidenbach has worked with the Wings as a skating instructor.

Each July, hundreds of tourists flock to Traverse City for the area’s annual Cherry Festival.

For the second consecutive summer, Andy Weidenbach joined the rush Up North; only the Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood hockey coach was going for work.

Well, mostly.

For the fifth straight year, Weidenbach was part of the Detroit Red Wings prospects camp, serving as the team’s skating instructor as more than 40 players took part in the week-long event.

“This is the second year we’ve been in Traverse City, and it was nearly perfect,” Weidenbach said last week, just days after completing the camp, which ran from July 7-13. “We were here last year, and like anything else, there were some changes made and some tweaks done. But they knocked it out of the park this time. The schedule was awesome. The weather was great, and the people in Traverse City were so receptive to us, such great hosts.”

Teams throughout the NHL hold their prospect camps shortly after the draft is complete. Weidenbach, who’s known members of the Wings organization for decades, started working the camps in 2007.

He’s been invited back every year since.

“It never gets old,” he said. “I’m here getting to work with some of the best athletes in the world at the sport of hockey. And anytime you work with the Red Wings, who are one of the top organizations in the entire world, you’re learning from and treated like the best all week. Not only do I have fun, but there’s so much I learn by being here.”

Players typically had two, two-hour sessions per day. Weidenbach was on the ice twice each day for roughly 40 minutes working with upwards of 40 players at a time.

The camp included many of the Wings’ recent draft picks, members of their minor league affiliates and some players who saw time with the NHL club last season, as well as some invited guests, such as former Cranbrook star and current Michigan State University forward Dean Chelios.

“It’s always fun to get to work with some of my former players at the NHL level,” Weidenbach said. “I’ve gotten to do that a little bit in the past, and it’s always cool.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.