Derek Lalonde had one less thing to worry about Tuesday: His family was safely out of the Tampa area and the path of Hurricane Ian.
While Lalonde has moved to Detroit as he embarks on his first year as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, his wife and children are still living in Tampa.
“My family is there, so it’s a little scary,” Lalonde said Tuesday. “Coming from Tampa, this time of year it’s the reality of living in Tampa. Usually I laugh all the time — we get them, and everyone calls me and wants to know, are you OK? And then the worst we have is a broken branch. But to evacuate, this is real. My family is coming up north now, which I’m excited about it. ”
WHAT’S TO COME:Why Red Wings need every one of their eight exhibition games
General manager Steve Yzerman hired Lalonde July 1, after four years as an assistant coach in Tampa. While Lalonde has relocated, he said he and his wife decided it was easier to keep their kids in the Tampa schools for this year. The family grew used to hurricane warnings, but never experienced an evacuation until now.
“The first time we had the prepare, we went straight to a bunker, and our neighbors laughed at us,” Lalonde said. “But the fact this, this is real. It’s scary. Luckily my family got out yesterday.”
TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS:Elmer Soderblom looks like a big deal
The Lalonde family flew out of Orlando on Monday. Their arrival in Detroit means they can watch Lalonde coach his first game at Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday, when the Wings host the Chicago Blackhawks in an exhibition match.
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.