Plans Take Shape for Bryan Rufenach Day – July 10th
Bryan Rufenach, despite his recent tragic and untimely death while traveling through Europe, will continue to be a huge part of the 2012 Detroit Red Wings Development Camp. The 23-year-old defenseman was a seventh round selection of the Red Wings in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and signed a contract last season with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. Rufenach spent a majority of the 2011-12 season with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL where he collected 13 goals and 33 points in 54 games. The Lindsay, Ontario native had previously spent four seasons with Clarkson University where he tallied 21 goals and 55 points over his collegiate career.
Organizers of the 2012 Red Wings Development Camp in conjunction with the Detroit Red Wings, Grand Rapids Griffins and Toledo Walleye have designated July 10th as ‘Bryan Rufenach Day’ with a portion of all proceeds to benefit the Bryan Rufenach Memorial Fund. The event begins at 4 p.m. outside Centre I.C.E. Arena in Traverse City, MI. Food provided by Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders will be available for purchase between 4:00 pmand 6:00 pm. Above the Garage will perform live at the event, while Red Wings Development Camp souvenirs will be sold to help benefit the fund.
Former NHL players, along with members of both the Red Wings’ and Grand Rapids Griffins’ management teams and coaching staffs will be on hand to sign autographs including Dallas Drake, Chris Chelios, Jiri Fischer, Aaron Downey, Ken Holland, Jim Nill, Ryan Martin, Jim Bedard, Keith McKittrick, Jeff Blashill and Jim Paek.
The puck will drop on an intra-squad scrimmage at 7:00 pm that evening at Centre I.C.E. Arena. A brief ceremony to honor Bryan’s memory will be held prior to opening face-off. The family of Bryan Rufenach is expected to attend the July 10th benefit. To view the full roster of players participating in the development camp click here.
The cost of the event, which includes the intra-squad scrimmage, is $5 and will be collected at the entrance to the Centre I.C.E. Arena parking lot. Fans wishing to make additional donations to the fund may do so at designated areas throughout the arena. For a complete schedule of development camp events click here.
A Message from the Rufenach Family on the Bryan Rufenach Memorial Skills Camp
The summer of 2011 was Bryan’s first year running the Bryan Rufenach Skills Camp. While the camp focused on skills development, Bryan’s ultimate goal was to pass on his love of hockey to young players. He adored teaching kids; not only seeing them improve before his eyes but watching the joy they felt in realizing their own progress. This was the epitome of Bryan – a natural teacher who loved working with kids. He possessed both limitless patience and infinite passion for the game. His dream was to offer the camp every year regardless of where his hockey career led him.
In honor of Bryan, his family has decided to carry on this dream. Immediate plans are for Bryan’s dad and brother to run a small camp in August and offer it to local house-league players ages 7-12 at no cost. The hope is to build the camp into a larger, volunteer-based, not-for-profit program allowing even more kids the opportunity to develop their hockey skills.
Donations to the Bryan Rufenach Memorial Fund will help cover some of the overhead costs associated with running the camp. While the camp is currently being offered in Lindsay, Ontario, the town Bryan called home for the last 10 years, the hope is to one day expand to other communities. We know that Bryan would love for his legacy to live on in helping kids to find the same fun, love and passion that he felt every time he stepped onto the ice.