By David Troppens
For a week, Fenton resident Drew DeRidder was living a dream.
He was a Detroit Red Wing, sort of.
The Michigan State hockey goalie recently spent a week at the Red Wing’s development camp, earning some valuable lessons and giving the organization a chance to see what he may be able to offer the squad sometime in the future.
“It was a dream come true for me,” DeRidder said. “Of course the Red Wings were my hometown team growing up since I lived in Fenton. It was a dream come true putting on the jersey.”
DeRidder was asked if he wanted to join the camp about a week prior to its start.
“Their goalie coach just called me and said, ‘We’d love to have you at this camp. What do you think?’ Obviously, I said yes,” DeRidder said. “I think it was a little more than a week before the camp.”
The week was spent doing a lot of training and learning a lot of other lessons beyond those on the ice.
“We had workouts and instruction time,” DeRidder said. “They were showing us how to take care of ourselves at the professional level.
“It was a lot of the same stuff we do at Michigan State. ... It’s good to hear information like that from different people. It helps you figure out what works for you.”
The culmination of the week was the development game’s scrimmage contest among all the Wings’ prospects and other camp members.
DeRidder played in the second period and faced nine shots, making seven saves.
The two goals he allowed were in tough positions. One came of a nice pass with 10 minutes left in the half. The second came on a breakaway with 5:25 left in the period. He made saves on the final three shots he faced.
The first shot he faced came on a 3-on-1 situation where he was able to make the strong save.
“I thought it was a really good week for me,” DeRidder said. “I thought I did well. I guess one of the guys said they had no real expectation for me going into the week and they said I opened their eyes. I surprised a lot of people, and that’s always good.
“The whole camp was great. The Red Wings are a top-notch program and they put on a great camp.”
DeRidder’s summer hockey isn’t over yet. He will be going to a U20 tryout in an attempt to make Team USA in an international junior tournament in Plymouth. The team won’t be decided during the camp, but it will be a key evaluation period. The camp will have about double the number of players needed to compete in the tournament. It’s likely the squad will be made out of those players.
Drew DeRidder spent the 2018-19 hockey season as one of the Michigan State’s top two goalies, playing in 17 games and posting a 90.6 save percentage.