Red Wings stars donate $5,000, take on Flint firefighters in friendly match
(9/10/19) - Some Detroit Red Wings faced off against Flint firefighters Tuesday in a street hockey playoff.
Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha, and Tyler Bertuzzi visited the fire department as part of the Hockeytown Cares Community Tour.
"What the Flint Fire Department has here is pretty special and made us feel at home," Larkin said.
The Red Wings also toured the central fire station on East Fifth Street with Flint firefighter Rico Phillips, who received the NHL's Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award this year.
"To come here and meet all these firefighters, they risk their lives every day for us and it's nice to meet them," Bertuzzi said.
The four Red Wing stars also brought a $5,000 donation with them for the Flint Inner City Youth Hockey Program, which Phillips manages.
"And what that means for our program is that it gives us a leg up this year," he said. "There's so many things that we want to improve in our program. Whether it's our marketing or making sure everything stays stable, they just gave us a huge, huge gift."
Larkin admires what Phillips has been able to do with creating and sustaining the youth hockey program.
"What Rico's done here is amazing," said Larkin. "It's just because he loves hockey and you can see it in his tone of voice. When he talks about hockey; when he talks about being a firefighter. He's very proud. He should be very proud of what he's accomplished here in Flint."
Phillips says it's amazing to be able to share the good of Flint, with the outside communities.
"Here in Flint we feel isolated at times, said Phillips. "One of the things that we try to do is keep our heads up. And so when there's an opportunity like this to share with people that are outside of Flint, all the good things and the good people of Flint, especially professional athletes in my favorite sport in the world, today was an incredible day."," Larkin said.
After the tour, the pros took on some Flint firefighters in a friendly street hockey game before leaving them some equipment behind.
The Red Wings also visited Saint Laurent Brothers Candy and Nut Shop on North Water Street in Bay City. While there they donated $2500 to the Bay County Civic Arena's Learn to Skate program.
Hockeytown Cares is a year-round outreach effort serving as the Red Wings Community Impact Platform.