As we all know, we are entering the final season of life for Joe Louis Arena. Over the next few months, we are sure to have plenty of events (and a few Red Wings games) to build lasting and final memories of this edifice that has housed our favorite sports franchise since 1979. The first of these events kicks off this Saturday - the Hockeytown 5K.
Apologies up front - the event was announced several months ago and no story went up, even as I begged my fiance "OMG CAN WE GO CAN WE GO CAN WE GO"... So, ya know, my bad on that one. But before you crucify me, there’s a bright spot - spectators get into JLA for free (plus $10 parking) for anyone who wants to watch the event. And you may actually want to watch this 5K fun-run, and not just because I will look hilarious wheezing and red-faced crossing the finish line.
At 8am, Karen Newman will kick things off with her signature performance of the Star Spangled Banner that has earned her a recurring gig with the Wings. Then, the race kicks off and will take runners thru downtown Detroit, back down the riverfront area, and will finish beneath the Jumbo-tron inside The Joe. Ken Daniels will also be there, I assume doing play-by-play as runners cross the finish line.
Here’s the real reason you may want to consider attending - after the fun-run concludes, there will be a fan-fest type event where people can mingle, take pictures with some of the banners that will have been lowered from the rafters, go on a locker-room tour, and also rub elbows with current and former Red Wings players. Current alumni appearances are confirmed as Alex Delvecchio, Larry Murphy, John Ogrodnick, Jason Wolley, Brent Fedyk, and Jimmy Carson. Per the e-mail sent to race participants, other alumni and current players are expected to be announced later in the week, so as more information is published I’ll be sure to update this post.
For anyone already signed up who wants to feel good about themselves, I’ll be the slow guy with the shaved head running with a backpack full of pucks and permanent markers who will probably finish in the 35:00-40:00 range. For anyone who wants to heckle the rest of us masochists as we zombie our way thru the course, come on down and try to tough it out until things open up with alumni and all the other happenings going on. Either way, it should be a pretty good opener to start saying good-bye to Joe Louis Arena.
The Hockeytown 5K webpage has been updated with the following autograph signing information:
10:30am-11:30am: Alex Delvecchio and Larry Murphy
All other alumni are listed only as "appearances", but that may change with the first hour of autograph signings still TBD.