Why Detroit Red Wings’ Derek Lalonde is a fan of Detroit Lions’ Dan Campbell

Detroit Free Press

They’re part of an exclusive club as head coaches of pro Detroit sports team, and at least one is a huge fan of the other.

The NFL – and NHL – schedules are coming together to benefit Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde this week; with the Wings playing at home Wednesday and Friday,‘ the native of upstate New York is able to take Thanksgiving off and attend the Detroit Lions‘ home game against the Buffalo Bills.

“My favorite AFC team up against my favorite NFC team in the Detroit Lions,” Lalonde said Tuesday. “I’ve just always liked the Detroit Lions, something about that powder blue. How can you not?”

It turns out Lalonde, is his first season coaching the Wings, is a fan of second-year Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell, and wants the NFLer to visit Little Caesars Arena when possible.

“The same passion and excitement the fan base has here with Coach Campbell, I have, too,” Lalonde said. “How can you not? When their season is over, I’m going to come ask him talk to the guys — and I don’t care what you talk about. Just talk the passion, you always do.

“I’m excited about going to the game. It’ll be fun.”

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Lalonde said he has been “kicking myself,” since turning down and invitation to attend Lions training camp because he was still in Tampa, Florida, where he was an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning until being hired by Wings general manager Steve Yzerman in July. Instead, Lalonde has admired Campbell from their respective workplaces along Woodward Avenue.

“I’ve liked watching him, his passion, what he’s about,” Lalonde said. “He’s been fun to watch, so I’m looking forward to meeting him some time. Not looking forward to wrestling him, or getting in a bar brawl with him. Maybe if he’s on my side.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. 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.

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