By: Jeff Riger
What an overwhelming success the last couple days were!
It was snowing, freezing and at times unbearable, but that didn’t stop Detroit hockey fans from showing up in droves to the alumni games on New Year’s Eve and the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. People packed both Comerica Park and The Big House to experience what Wings GM Ken Holland referred to as “a once in a decade” event.
Both days lived up to the hype and were truly unforgettable, but that’s not what makes Detroit fans the greatest, instead it was the awesome, goose bump providing way they treated former Wing Sergei Fedorov.
There was potential on Tuesday for everything to be wrecked, but as usual, Detroit fans did the right, classy thing and made the day even better.
You know as well as I that one of the main storylines going into the Alumni game was that Fedorov was coming to play and would put on a Detroit uniform for the first time in way too long. It’s no secret how fans passionately booed Fedorov over the years when he came back to the Joe as a member of the Ducks, Capitals and even Blue Jackets.
And that’s cool, I too was miffed that Fedorov bailed and never truly got over it.
He left, fans were mad and they let him have it, despite all he accomplished in Hockey Town. To their credit, there were some people that refused to boo #91 because he did help the Wings bring home 3 cups, but those fans were always outnumbered by the others like myself, that wanted Sergei to know how mad they still were.
And then Tuesday happened.
Would the fans still boo Fedorov? Would they still be angry after all these years or would they finally show him the love that he deserves considering he hasn’t played in the NHL since 2009?
Of course the fans delivered and gave Fedorov a fantastic ovation, a reception that was only second to the one Steve Yzerman got on that same day.
“I wasn’t sure one hundred percent how it was going to be” Fedorov said. “I don’t know why I thought that, just being honest with you guys, I was ready for anything.”
Fedorov described getting booed all those years as an “odd reaction” by Detroit fans but he always understood it. “I feel bad for those fans that kind of boo me” Fedorov said. He felt bad for the fans because they lost such a good player. “I have to be the one who is responsible, for everything” Fedorov joked.
So does he regret leaving Detroit?
You’ll have to check out the video to find out!