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The Malik Report

Red Wings afternoon news: Hiller endorsements, coming attractions and hockey tunes

This afternoon's crop of Red Wings-related news falls into the "lists and information" category, but this summer's still been eye-opening for me in terms of the new reality that there simply is no such thing as an offseason any more.

If you've been down to Joe Louis Arena in the summer, you'll see that the parking lot is still 3-quarters full and that the hockey operations departments are in fact quite busy, so the Wings' announcement of the details of this year's HockeyFest, their revealing of a new menu for the Hockeytown Cafe and Ayron letting us know that they're designing this year's bobbleheads presently, the community relations department getting us ready for Breast Cancer Awareness night...

It's not hiring an assistant coach and video coordinator, but the Big Red Machine never sleeps, whether we're talking about the PR department, ticket sales (potential season ticket-holders have probably visted possible seats at "ice level" today), game operations, promotions, merchandising, food services, maintenance, all departments keep humming along in June, July and August, and I think that's fascinating.

In terms of today's actual news, the Tri-City Herald penned a "blurb" about Jim Hiller's hiring as the Wings' second assistant coach...

Jim Hiller, whose five-year run as coach of the Tri-City Americans ended in May, was hired Wednesday by the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings as an assistant.

Hiller joins the staff of NHL coaching great Mike Babcock.

“For my first experience in the NHL to be with Mike, there couldn’t be a better guy to start with,” Hiller said on the team’s website.

Hiller was fired by the Americans after the team went 29-33-4-6 and was ousted from the WHL playoffs in the first round. Still, his teams won 40 games in each of his first four seasons along with two U.S. Division titles and a Western Conference crown. The Americans posted a .619 winning percentage under Hiller, who was named WHL Coach of the Year in 2012.

Hiller played in 21 games for the Red Wings during the 1992-93 season, a stint he said was “much too brief.”

And the Alberni Valley Times' Scott McKenzie spoke with Hiller's first assistant coach regarding the 45-year-old's qualifications:

Hiller was at the helm of the [BCHL's Port Alberni] Bulldogs for two seasons, from 2004 to 2006, before leaving for the head coach job of the new Chilliwack Bruins Western Hockey League Franchise.

Hiller could not be reached Wednesday.

Rick Schievink worked as an assistant coach under Hiller for both seasons he was with the Bulldogs, and said there was never any doubt in his mind Hiller would one day end up coaching in the NHL.

"Not one," said Schievink, now the Bulldogs' director of scouting.

"He was by far the best coach I ever coached with," Schievink said. "I learned quite a lot about coaching from Jim, and I think more importantly than anything, Jim Hiller is a good person. He's not just a good coach, he's a good person and that's what makes him a good coach; he cares about people."


Hiller was drafted in the 10th round by the Los Angeles Kings in 1989 and ended up playing 63 professional games before ending his career playing professionally in Europe. He began his coaching career in the Western Hockey League as an assistant with the Tri-Cty Americans, before leaving to take his first head coaching job in Port Alberni.

"He did an outstanding job," said Bulldogs educational advisor Tom McEvay, who began in that role the same year Hiller was hired.

The University of New Brunswick also posted a press release congratulating Andrew Brewer and two other UNB "Reds" regarding their new hockey positions:

Congratulations: Mike Kelly, Gary Agnew and Andrew Brewer

The UNB Varsity Reds would like to extend their congratulations to alumni Mike Kelly, Gary Agnew and Andrew Brewer.

Mike Kelly is the latest UNB coach to be hired in the NHL as assistant coach to Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers.  Kelly also has NHL experience serving as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks for two seasons (06-08). Kelly played for UNB 1981-1986 and returned as head coach in 1997. He led the UNB Varsity Reds to their first CIS title in 1998 after winning a silver medal in 1997. Mike has also worked in the OHL, WHL and AHL.

Gary Agnew also has a new position in the NHL and will assist Mike Johnston with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Agnew was a standout player for the UNB hockey team for four years (78-82) assistant coach to both Don MacAdam and Doug MacLean at UNB. He got his start coaching the London Knights for several years before realizing the NHL dream in 2006 (06-10) with the Columbus Blue Jackets as an assistant coach. For the last two seasons Agnew has been with the St. Louis Blues (12-14) and will now move to the Penguins.

Andrew Brewer served as video coach for the Varsity Reds for three season (09-11) before travelling west to work with Hockey Canada in 2011.  He was part of the coaching team which won gold at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.  Brewer's latest appointment is as assistant coach to Mike Babcock with the Detroit Red Wings.


In "interactive news," the Detroit Free Press's All-Time Best Red Wing bracket has reached its "second round" of voting;

And after asking fans to weigh in on as to which goaltender was the Wings' best player at that position, MLive's Brendan Savage is asking fans to vote upon the team's best center.


In the "coming attractions" department, NHL.com's announced that they're "30 in 30" team-examining series of articles will cover the Wings on August 20th, and Pro Hockey Talk's "Team of the Day" series will discuss the Wings on August 27th;


A little closer to the present day, the Plymouth Whalers are announcing more players taking part in the Whalers' charity alumni game on August 16th, with the list of participating alums growing by the day;


Five Red Wings prospects will be taking part in World Junior evaluation camps--Tony Granato will be coaching Dylan Larkin at the U.S. World Junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, NY from August 2-9, with Axel Holmstrom (Sweden) and Julius Vahatalo (Finland) representing opposition teams; Zach Nastasiuk and Tyler Bertuzzi will be taking part in Team Canada's World Junior development camp in Montreal from August 3-8--and the IIHF has posted a handy-dandy set of links and rosters for the events:

With less than five months to go until the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal, the ten participating nations meet in summer camps.

Canada will host a Summer Development Camp next week, 3-8 August, in Montreal and Sherbrooke, Quebec, that also includes the U20 national teams from the Czech Republic, Russia and for one game Sweden.

At the same time across the border USA Hockey will hold its National Junior Evaluation Camp 2-9 August in Lake Placid with 42 players that will play in two squads against Finland and Sweden.

Starting tomorrow, a Summer Challenge will take place in Zuchwil with host Switzerland, the Czech Republic (U19), Germany and Slovakia.

Recently promoted Denmark will have a camp in Canada 29-31 August with games against teams from the Alberta Junior Hockey League (Lloydminster Bobcats, Camrose Kodiaks, Bonnyville Pontiacs) to get used to playing at North American-size rinks.


In "local news," Curbed Detroit's Paul Beshori reports that a new sports apparel outlet, "Gameday Detroit," has channeled a little bit of Olympia Stadium's architecture into one of its two Downtown Detroit locations;

If you were wondering how much the Winter Classic pumped into the Ann Arbor economy, ahead of the Manchester United vs. Real Madrid game at Michigan Stadium this Saturday, MLive's Lizzy Alfs reports that estimates range from $10-15 million in money spent in the Ann Arbor area for the single game at the Big House this past New Year's Day;

On Twitter...

Arun Bali from Saves the Day did indeed discuss music at rinks with the Hockey News's Ryan Kennedy, among others, and I dig this in particular:

Arun, what are Nashville games like? It sounds like the Preds have a pretty unique in-game music presentation.

AB: I’ve been living in Nashville for a couple of years now, and it seems that Preds fans are pretty knowledgeable about hockey.  They definitely connect the fact that it’s the “Music City” as part of the games. However, the “you suck” chant after they score a goal is a little unnerving.  There are not enough banners in the rafters to be that cocky about it.

There’s a bunch of artists who play together in town too, right?

AB: There is definitely a nice collective of musicians that skate down in Nashville. For various reasons, I hadn’t skated for about 20 years.  I credit Dean from Queens of the Stone Age for getting me back out there, and now I skate about three times a week when I’m home. Dierks Bentley and I play on the same team in an adult league in Nashville. I’m meeting new musicians all the time at drop-in games, and I love that about the city. Music and hockey, two of my favorite things.

!!! I got to meet Dean Ferita once, and he's a) from Royal Oak, b) a great all-round musician (as evidenced by both the Queens of the Stone Age and the Dead Weather) and he's c) also left-handed.

On average, do you meet a lot of hockey fans in the music world?

AB: I’m currently on the Warped Tour, and I have so many friends in bands that are huge hockey fans. Nick from Bayside (NY Rangers), John from Ghost Inside (LA Kings), Ryan Mendez from Yellowcard (Detroit Red Wings), Joe Weiss and Jake Massucco from Four Year Strong (Boston Bruins), Kelen Capener from The Story So Far (San Jose Sharks), our sound guy Brian Turner (NJ Devils), and our guitar tech Matt Black (Detroit Red Wings) are just a few of them. It’s a fun thing to talk about on tour and I’m always meeting new people that are musicians that share the passion for hockey as well.

Ryan Mendez is taking part in the Joe Kocur Foundation's charity softball game on August 23rd in Highland, MI...

And Boyd Devereaux--who's now in the music business--talked about some former teammates' favorite tunes:

For the players, do any of your teammates share your musical tastes?

BD: In Edmonton I roomed with Jimmy Dowd on the road and we’d play and talk about music all the time. He turned me on to some older bands that I hadn’t heard, like Blind Faith and War, and I turned him on to Radiohead and My Morning Jacket.

In Detroit guys like Chris Chelios, Brett Hull and Sean Avery loved their jams (The Who, Neil Young) and we had some great times at some epic shows, mostly due to Cheli’s friendship with Eddie Vedder and Kid Rock, who always treated us amazingly when we made it out to see them. And Darren McCarty of course, we were on the same page as fans of Kyuss and The Stooges.

In Toronto, Bryan McCabe and I would pound Tool as often as possible. Mark Bell and Hal Gill were also big music guys.

Also: Many thanks to SI's Allan Muir for yet another TMR mention in his "Top Line," my every-day, "Okay, what's going on outside of KK?" read.

Nobody I ever played with was quite so deep into the underground sounds I was searching out. But often when I’d come across a band I felt they’d appreciate I’d let them know and they always seemed to dig it.

Update: Great comments from a Detroit City Councilwoman to MLive's David Muller regarding the Wings' ancillary development plans:

Castaneda-Lopez said she was pleased with the way the plans look, but said she is still waiting for more specific details on implementation – and how inclusive that execution will be for both Detroiters and non-residents alike.

“For me and my overall objective in my office is to help support Detroit as it continues to grow as a diverse, inclusive, global city,” Castaneda-Lopez said. She added that now the hope among those who live in the broader area of the city is that a certain percentage of retail that is developed will be reserved for local entrepreneurs, and that residential spaces are affordable to Detroiters.


Castaneda-Lopez worried that the new monikers could rub some Detroiters the wrong way.

“When you talk about five new neighborhoods, that could be offensive to some of the population, because there are existing neighborhoods there,” she said. “For me, inclusivity means inclusive of existing Detroiters, people who have lived here for generations.” She added that inclusivity also means welcoming newcomers alongside the longtime residents.

“It’s not an ‘or,’ it’s not new Detroiters or old Detroiters,” she said. “It’s an ‘and.’ It’s how we create an inclusive community for everyone.”

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.