Local writer releases book about covering Detroit Red Wings

By: Mark Vest | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 28, 2017

 As a writer for the Detroit News, Cynthia Lambert covered the Detroit Red Wings for 12 seasons. She shared some of her recollections in a book titled “Power Play: My life Inside the Red Wings Locker Room.”

As a writer for the Detroit News, Cynthia Lambert covered the Detroit Red Wings for 12 seasons. She shared some of her recollections in a book titled “Power Play: My life Inside the Red Wings Locker Room.”

Photo provided by Cynthia Lambert

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — A strong argument could be made that the Detroit Red Wings were the most popular sports franchise in Michigan during the 1990s.

After having their share of struggles the previous decade, the Wings transformed into one of the most powerful franchises in the NHL during the 90s, with the team making deep playoff runs and eventually hoisting the Stanley Cup in both 1997 and 1998.

As the success grew, so did the team’s fan base, to the extent that it could be hard for those living in the metro Detroit area to avoid all the hype.

Somebody who had an up-close and personal look at the frenzy that surrounded the organization was Grosse Pointe Woods resident and St. Clair Shores Lakeview graduate Cynthia Lambert, who covered the Wings as a writer for the Detroit News from 1986 to 1998.

After fielding questions from friends about what it was like to cover the team, Lambert decided to share some of her memories in the form of a book, which is titled “Power Play: My Life Inside the Red Wings Locker Room.”

“One day I was sitting there, I got out a notebook, and I started jotting down some of my favorite and least favorite memories,” Lambert said. “I realized that I did have a book there. … It was a very fun project because I got to relive some of the greatest moments of my first career, as I call it.”

Some of the players Lambert shared memories of include Sergei Fedorov, Steve Yzerman, Vladimir Konstantinov, Keith Primeau, Bob Probert and Shawn Burr. She also devoted a chapter to the three best fights she saw on the ice.

And while Lambert has some pleasant recollections, not all of her memories are positive. Prior to starting at the News, she wrote for the Northeast Detroiter.

When she was assigned to go into the Wings’ locker room during an era when it was not the norm for a female reporter to be there, Lambert recalled being screamed at by a player.

Following that incident, she had some thinking to do.

“I wondered at that point, do I have it in me to continue in this, because the locker room is not a comfortable environment for, I can’t imagine for any woman to be in,” Lambert said. “But most of the reporting after a game is done in the locker room. … To bar women from the locker room is to bar women from sports reporting. … I’m very happy to report I encountered the worst of it in my, almost, first encounter in the dressing room. I had no problems after that.”

Lambert had been a fan of the Wings since her childhood. She described the opportunity to write about the team as “thrilling” and a “dream.”

She eventually stepped away from her position, saying she was tired, in part, due to deadlines and traveling. She currently works in communications for Henry Ford Health System, but calls the experience on the Red Wings beat “an amazing time in my life.”

“For most of my career, I would wake up in the morning and know that I would do it for free because it was such a rush,” she said. “The atmosphere and all of it, it was a job I would’ve paid someone to let me do.”

Copies of the book can be ordered at barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com and balboapress.com.

Those who would like a signed copy can email Lambert at cynthialambertauthor@gmail.com.

A couple of her book signing events are scheduled for Dec. 9, with one from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the East Side Hockey Ice Arena in Detroit, and the other from 2 to 4 p.m. at Foot Solutions in St. Clair Shores.

A portion of the proceeds from the Foot Solutions signing will go to Capuchin Soup Kitchen.