Leafs, Wings Add Players To Winter Festival

(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.


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Ian Shalapata
Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Email Ian Shalapata