By Sandra McNeill

PLYMOUTH (WWJ) – Red Wings fans who’ve spent three months without hockey are getting a free fix this week. The Wings are holding their training camp and it’s open to the public.

Frank Baker and his wife attended Monday’s camp at Compuware Arena. He says they’re training camp veterans.

“We’ve been up to Traverse City about 10-11 years now and since they are in our backyard this time so it’s nice to be able to come without driving four and a half hours to Traverse City,” said Baker.

Baker says he’s missed watching the Wings this season during the lockout … it’s a family tradition.

WWJ’s Sandra McNeill reports that hundreds of fans like Russel Poacher turned out to get a look.

“I’ve been going to watch the Whalers games here at Compuware to make due but that it’s not the same,” said Poacher.

“We had to watch the Lions — not real proud of that,” said Don Paul of Canton.

“The ones that were playing overseas have their feet, the ones that took the time off — are getting there,” said Poacher.

Kelly Lee of Westland says she works two jobs but had to take the day off to see her team, “I’m beyond thrilled … I miss them so much – I’m so glad to even be here today just to watch them practice.”

She said she’ll come back as much as she can this week.

Wearing his Red Wings jacket Les Renn said he’s been waiting for the Wings , “Absolutely, I’m ready,” said Renn of his first trip to training camp.

“It’s my first time, so my boy is here with me and we thought we’d come over. I got the day off from work so I thought ‘let’s go’,” he said.

Asked whether he had any hard feelings about the long lockout, Renn said he did. “A little bit, I’m an original six fan, but I’ve got hockey in my blood – so I’m ready,” he said.

Tuesday night at 6 p.m. a special Red vs. White game will take place at Compuware Arena in Plymouth, as the Grand Rapids Griffins will join Detroit’s NHL players.

Doors will open at 5 p.m. and will be general admission seating.

The Red Wings season opener will be January 19 in St. Louis but all training camp practices leading up to the season opener will be free to the public. Wednesday will be a day off for the Wings.

The Red Wings will skate at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday and Friday, which will be open to the public and free of charge.



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