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Red Wings add Red Berenson, Jimmy Carson, Dennis Polonich, Aaron Ward to Winter Classic Alumni game

From the Red Wings’ PR department:


… Red Berenson, Jimmy Carson, Dennis Polonich and Aaron Ward to Skate for Detroit at Comerica Park on Dec. 31; Toronto Adds Tie Domi, Brad May and Tiger Williams …

Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings® and Toronto Maple Leafs® today announced the addition of seven total players who will participate in the festivities surrounding the 2012 Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings Alumni Showdown™ on December 31 at Comerica Park™ as part of the 2012 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™.  Detroit has added defenseman Aaron Ward as well as forwards Red Berenson, Jimmy Carson and Dennis Polonich. In addition to having suited up for the Red Wings, all four of these players were also members of either minor league or collegiate teams in the Great Lakes State during their respective careers; Berenson and Ward both attended the University of Michigan prior to turning pro while Carson – a Metro Detroit minor hockey product – and Polonich each competed in the International Hockey League for various Michigan-based clubs.

Toronto, meanwhile, has added former enforcers Tie Domi, Brad May and Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams – the NHL’s all-time leader in penalty minutes (3,966) – to their alumni roster. Between the three of them, Domi, May and Williams spent nearly 10,000 minutes in the sin bin over the course of their 3,023 combined regular season appearances.

Acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on February 6, 1971, Gordon Arthur ‘Red’ Berenson recorded 201 points (73G-128A) for the Red Wings over the course of his 283 appearances with the club.  The Regina , Sask. , native skated in 987 total career NHL games, tallying 261G-397A-658P for the Red Wings, Blues, Rangers and Canadiens. Upon retiring as a player, Berenson moved behind the bench – first in the NHL with St. Louis and Buffalo and later at his alma mater, the University of Michigan . Now the fifth-winningest coach in collegiate hockey history, the 72-year-old bench boss has amassed a career record of 752-352-77 in 28 seasons with the Wolverines, capturing a pair of NCAA titles in 1996 & 1998 as well as a National Coach of the Year award in 2008.

Originally selected by Los Angeles in the opening round (second overall) of the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, Jimmy Carson enjoyed a highly-respectable professional career during which he appeared in 626 games for the Kings, Oilers, Whalers, Canucks and Red Wings. The Michigander scored 275 goals during his tenure in the NHL, still the 19th-highest total in league history amongst U.S.-born players. Carson also dished out 286 assists during his 12 NHL seasons to finish with 561 points. In his 240 games with Detroit , Carson tallied 100G-102A-202P, ranking him fourth in franchise history in scoring by an American (61st overall).

A native of Foam Lake, Sask., Dennis Polonich broke into the NHL with the Red Wings during the 1974-75 season and went on to appear in 390 games for Detroit and 360 games for Adirondack/Virginia (AHL) over the course of his 11 seasons with the franchise. The 5’6”, 165-lb. agitator finished in the top 10 in the NHL in penalty minutes for four straight seasons between 1975 and 1979 with his 1976-77 total of 274 placing him second in the league behind only Tiger Williams of Toronto (338). Polonich wrapped up his playing career with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, helping the western Michigan-based club win the Turner Cup as IHL champions in 1985-86 prior to retiring the following season.

Winnipeg’s top pick (first round, fifth overall) at the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, the Red Wings acquired Aaron Ward in a trade with the Jets on June 11, 1993. The Windsor , Ont., native went on to skate in 276 regular season games for Detroit as well as 30 playoff contests. Ward was a part of the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup titles in both 1997 and 1998. Traded to Carolina on July 9, 2001, Ward won another championship with the Hurricanes in 2006. Upon his retirement at the end of the 2009-10 campaign, Ward had appeared in 839 career NHL games with the Red Wings, Hurricanes, Rangers, Bruins and Ducks. The 6’2”, 209-lb. blue-liner registered 44G-107A-151P over the course of his 16 seasons in the league.

Updated alumni rosters for Toronto and Detroit can be found below. Further roster for both teams will be announced in the coming weeks.


FORWARDS                 DEFENSEMEN             GOALIES         COACHES

Red Berenson               Chris Chelios               Chris Osgood     Scotty Bowman    

Jimmy Carson               Paul Coffey                   Mike Vernon       Barry Smith

Dino Ciccarelli               Mathieu Dandenault                      

Alex Delvecchio             Jiri Fischer

Kris Draper                   Viacheslav Fetisov                        

Sergei Fedorov               Mark Howe          

Joe Kocur                     Vladimir Konstantinov

Martin Lapointe               Larry Murphy

Igor Larionov                 Aaron Ward

Ted Lindsay                

Kirk Maltby          

Darren McCarty            

John Ogrodnick

Dennis Polonich          

Mickey Redmond          

Luc Robitaille              


FORWARDS               DEFENSEMEN             GOALIES                   COACHES

Dave Andreychuk           Dave Ellett                   Johnny Bower               Red Kelly

Wendel Clark               Jim McKenny                 Curtis Joseph               Pat Quinn

Russ Courtnall               Bryan McCabe               Mike Palmateer

Vincent Damphousse       Bob McGill                   Felix Potvin

Bill Derlago        

Tie Domi

Ron Ellis            

Doug Gilmour              

Gary Leeman              

Kevin Maguire              

Brad May

Lanny McDonald

Gary Roberts

Darryl Sittler        

Darcy Tucker              

Rick Vaive

Tiger Williams


Update: DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose spoke to Polonich about joining the roster and dealing with the fact that he scrapped so much that his, well, his face is kind of disfigured:

The shortest drafted player to ever don a Red Wings’ sweater, Dennis Polonich wasn’t going to allow his vertically challenged stature prevent him from fighting his way to a pro career.

“Being a little guy wanting to prove people wrong all of the time, it’s just the way I grew up,” said the 5-foot-6 Polonich. “I was very tenacious with very unbelievable will-power, and tremendous attitude and character. It was all of the traits.”

But that wasn’t the only driving force for Polonich, who was an eight-round draft pick in 1973.

“I was afraid to lose,” he said. “I was afraid to get cut, I was afraid to return home, so I was going to do whatever it took.”

Three decades after he had fans on their feet and cheering his name at Olympia Stadium, Polonich, who lives in Calgary, will return to his NHL home in December to participate in the Alumni Showdown during the SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park on New Year’s Eve. Besides Polonich, the Wings announced Thursday the addition of defenseman Aaron Ward and forwards Red Berenson and Jimmy Carson to the rosters that will take on former Toronto Maple Leafs in an alumni doubleheader.

The Leafs also revealed that a trio agitators – Tie Domi, Tiger Williams and Brad May – have committed to their Dec. 31 roster. Williams and May also spent some of their careers with the Red Wings.

“It’s such an honor when I see some of the names that are going to participate,” Polonich said. “And then I start thinking about all of the players that have gone through there, and for myself, a guy who is all of 5-foot-6 from small town Saskatchewan it’s kind of the final chapter for me. When I look back at the whole thing, everything that I have is through hockey, it’s through the Red Wings, it’s through the NHL.”

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Cal's avatar

Talk about booing Federov - I remember Berenson getting booed at the Olympia…...while wearing the red and white (with all due respect to his success as a collegiate coach).

I an era of pretty dismal hockey in Detroit, Polonich was the show.  I was at a game where he dropped the gloves with Dave “The Hammer” Schultz…..twice. Right after the first major expired they exited the penalty box, dropped them again and picked up where they left off. 

He was a favorite and I am glad he is attending.

Posted by Cal on 08/16/12 at 02:02 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

Aaron Fuching Ward.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 08/16/12 at 02:43 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Love Red Berenson, the fabulous coach of the Michigan Wolverines.  Did you know he was the first Canadian to play hockey at an American university (Michigan) and then play in the NHL?  In his day, young Canadian players were told they would never play in the NHL if they went to college.  Red played his last game at Michigan - a loss in the national championship - then played the very next night with the Montreal Canadiens.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 08/16/12 at 04:57 PM ET

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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.


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