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While most Detroit Red Wings were out of town Tuesday, defenseman Danny DeKeyser was playing street hockey at Echo Grove Camp near Oxford.

DeKeyser teamed up with the Salvation Army of Metro Detroit to spend the afternoon with 200 campers to teach them how to shoot and pass.

This was an opportunity the kids will probably never get anywhere else, organizer Erin Eddy said. Most of these kids cannot afford to go to hockey games or meet a player, so it s an invaluable experience for them. Some of their faces lit up and were so excited to see him. A few were screaming and wanted to hug him. They were excited to see and interact with somebody who is a popular, influential person in Detroit.

The opportunity was organized by STRIVE Hockey http://www.detredwingsjersey.com/jonathan-ericsson-jersey-c-21.html, a floor hockey program started in 2009 that teaches fundamentals Tomas Tatar Jersey, team building and sportsmanship to children ages 8 12 at different community centers around metro Detroit. STRIVE stands for Student Training for Integrity, Vitality and Education.

Last year, Wings players raised 23,000 for the program by participating in the Salvation Army s Red Wings for Red Kettles bell ringing competition.

Some of that money purchased equipment http://www.detredwingsjersey.com/danny-dekeyser-jersey-c-20.html, jerseys, trophies and medals for the program.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser signs autographs

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser signs autographs during a youth hockey event Tuesday, July 27, 2017, at Echo Grove Camp near Oxford. Beatrice Potter Special to DFP

Red Wings Danny DeKeyser at hockey event in Oxford

What the Detroit Red Wings do for our kids on a weekly basis, they have no idea the impact that goes into the program, Eddy said. Each of the kids participating gets to accomplish something and experience hockey. They get to see their efforts pay off and, in the end, that s an invaluable relationship.

The program has enriched the lives of children like Warren native Cailey Noland, 12, who has camped at Echo Grove for four years and wants to be a Red Wing herself one day.

Noland plays in her local church league. Her favorite player is DeKeyser because he s a defenseman.

I like him so much because he s the reason I started playing hockey, Noland said. I m a good defender, too, so that s why I like hockey. I m a big Red Wings fan — so big that, like, I want to be a Red Wing.

Each camper got to shoot three pucks at a goalie with DeKeyser giving them centering passes. When it was Noland s turn, she dropped her stick and asked for his autograph instead.

I wanted to shoot, too, but it was amazing meeting him, she said. I made all three of my goals, though.

Dylan Norris, 10 http://www.detredwingsjersey.com/tomas-jurco-jersey-c-18.html, appreciated playing with DeKeyser because he can play only basketball and baseball back home in Midland.

Norris spent the first half of the event playing goalie. He faced shots from DeKeyser and several of the other campers.

It s the first time I ve ever been goalie, Norris said. It was really hard taking shots from DeKeyser . He always would juke me. He would push it one way and then the other way and then back the other way. It just confused me. I got hit multiple times on my sides.

By the end of the day, DeKeyser had passed about 800 pucks to all the campers.

It wasn t too bad, DeKeyser said. It s a lighter puck, so it makes it a little easier.