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Benched: Red Wings broadcaster Ken Daniels discusses NHL’s restart, his mission to help

Could be 7 months before Red Wings play again

DETROIT – Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond are the longest-currently-serving broadcast duo in the league.

It was tough when the Red Wings Season abruptly ended this year, so it was nice to see each other again, six feet apart of course.

“Mickey was really careful from the beginning,” Daniels said. “Even before Carolina came in, I would go to open a door and the door handle would be soaked. My hand was wet with disinfectant and I would think, ‘Oh Mickey was here.’ And that was before the shutdown. He knew what was coming. Recently, our families spent time together at the Redmond’s house, distanced with the hockey stick.”

Daniels said he’s been following the news of the NHL’s plan to restart with 24 teams in hub cities. He said it all sounds great, if it happens.

“I’m 50-50 on it,” Daniels said. “Players still have to vote on it. Since phase two opened, 11 players have tested positive for COVID-19. I’m not sure how many players are desperate to come back. There are still so many questions not answered.”

Hockey is Daniels’ love, but since losing his son Jamie in 2016, his passion and purpose have shifted to education, resources and support for people battling drug addiction.

“Ending the shame of substance abuse, don’t be ashamed, it’s mental illness,” he said. “Receptors change, maybe a doctor prescribed it and you didn’t know you could get hooked in five days. These things happen. We need to talk about it. The more we talk about it, the more it will end.”

Since the COVID-19 crisis hit, the Jamie Daniels Foundation has written $80,000 in grants. The ultimate goal is to build safe, long-term sober housing in Southeastern Michigan. Events like the Roast of Mickey Redmond last year at Motor City Casino last year and the virtual roast of Scotty Bowman this year will get them to that goal.

“We are roasting Scotty Bowman likely at the end of September virtually,” Daniels said. “I’ve got NHL stars and Hollywood celebrities.”

Ken Daniels is also keeping hockey alive in Hockeytown with his Instagram account: KendanielsTV. There, he’s posting old hockey footage and photos and answering fans questions on Sundays. He said it could be seven months or more before the Red Wings hit the ice again.

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