Kris Draper retires

How can one properly sum up Kris Draper’s NHL career?

Drapes had success at the highest level, winning the Stanley Cup four times with one of the most gorgeous playoff beards in NHL history. He was acquired from the Winnipeg Jets (Version 1.0) for just a dollar, and we still aren’t totally sure if that was U.S. or Canadian. He played on the Grind Line, which could also aptly sum up his workouts, which would be a grind for seemingly everybody but him.

That’s just part of it.

Kris Draper ranks fifth all-time in Wings history with 1,137 games played. And those four men with longer on-ice tenure are named Howe, Yzerman, Delvecchio and Lidstrom, very elite company for an Original Six franchise. With 161 goals and 364 career points, odds are that he won’t join those four in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but you’ll find few players as beloved in Detroit, past, present, or future.

“I’m going to miss being a hockey player,” Draper said upon announcing his retirement on Tuesday. “I’m going to miss putting on DRAPER 33. I loved it.”

I’ll always remember Kris Draper as a team-first guy, both at home and on the road, finding ways to bring the two together in that unique bond between family and team. As most know, Drapes is always one to tell a good story, and is pretty much gracious with everyone, including our social media audience.

We’ve been able to showcase that bond over the last 12 months, whether that be Draper showing off his special Crocs, which were marked up by his son Kienan, or admitting to having a life sized poster of Justin Bieber in the kitchen, property of oldest daughter Kennedy.

During the 2008 and 2009 Stanley Cup runs, most Red Wings players had pictures drawn by the Draper children hanging in their lockers. If I remember the story correctly, all of the pictures had beards as thick and luscious as Henrik Zetterberg, because that’s who Kennedy’s favorite player (besides her father) was.

And when the Red Wings did win that 2008 Stanley Cup, Draper’s third child, Kamryn Rose etched her way into Stanley Cup lore by well … pooping in it.

“A week after we won it, I had my newborn daughter in there and she pooped in the Cup,” said Draper. “That was something. We had a pretty good laugh … It was, well, clean it out. I still drank out of it that night, so no worries.”

We’ve also seen Draper take younger players under his wing as if they were family, including hosting the team’s unofficial Thanksgiving dinner and joking that he was going to place Justin Abdelkader at the kids table. (The camaraderie the three of them have shared has been instrumental in their development as NHL players.) And Drapes always seemed to be up to date on pop culture, taking on the role as the biggest Charlie Sheen ‘Duh … winning!’ fan in the locker room.

“He always looked after us … on and off the ice,” says Abdelkader. “He was always there to answer questions, offer advice and as a friend.”

He was in every sense of the word, a one of a kind player unique to this city and this sport. He will be missed.

Share your Draper tribute by sending a 50-100 word response, along with your name and address to . Two worthy tributes will receive a Kris Draper autographed Upper Deck trading card sheet.

About Jake Duhaime

Social Networking Manager for the Detroit Red Wings
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48 Responses to Kris Draper retires

  1. Jeff Tardiff says:

    Always a class player and fun to watch! Drapes will be missed!

    • Lisa Roy says:

      It’s a sad day now that Draper will no longer grace the ice in a Wings sweater! Best of luck to a great player and a classy guy!

    • Gail Robinson Fink says:

      Kris, you will be very missed……:( I wish you well on your well deserved retirement! Congrats! Enjoy your family and know that #33, will be missed greatly. God Bless

  2. Marissa Jean says:

    Sad day. He was one of my favorite players!

  3. Rob Stanchina says:

    #33 was the Red Wing that got my daughter to sit down and watch all the games with me. She was only 2 years old, but she recognized your red beard; like the one I had during the playoffs. Thank you for that Drapes. I’ll never forget that bonding time I shared with her.

  4. EricT says:

    Drapes you were one of the best role players ever. You will be missed for sure. But your legacy will never be forgotten. Sad to see whats left of the old remaining wings finally starting to leave. But atleast they will still be around and able to share thier knowledge and wisdom to the younger generation wings. And that is why we are the greatest organization is all of sports.

  5. All we can say is Thanks Drapes for a great game!

  6. Hey! you’ve been one of the hardest working players i’ve seen. you’ll be missed on the ice, but a blessing in the front office wherever you go! Happy trails & good luck w/ everything!

  7. Nanette Zygmunt says:

    Drapes you will be missed! You have always been one of our favorites and it will be sad not seeing you on the ice with the Wings 😦 Good luck to you with your future and we are so glad you will still be a part of the Red Wings organization!

  8. My all time favorite Wing. Enjoy your retirement, Drapes, you’ve more than earned it!

  9. Lori Mouser says:

    Kris, I always enjoyed watching you. No matter what you always seemed to have a smile on your face. You will be missed on the ice, but I am glad to hear that you will still be with the Wings in the front office.
    All the best to you and your family,
    Lori Mouser

  10. John Campbell says:

    A class act and role model for hockey players at all levels. His work ethic is Detroit. I am happy that he will still be with the Wings. Great career Drapes!

  11. Phil Assaley says:

    If the whole world had your work ethic can you imagine how much better it would be?

  12. Draper was always the best at what he did. He was also a classy guy and as mild mannered a man as ever possible. I’ve watched him the entire time he was with the Red Wings and I will miss him as much as I miss Stevie Y. Class acts, first rate people, and a symbol of hope for Detroit.

  13. Lynn says:

    Very sad day. He was everyone’s favorite, going to really miss his smile and wit. I sure hope he stays with the wings in some capacity, he would be a valuble asset to the orgainization.
    Best of luck always in whatever you do Kris…..

  14. John Gamba says:

    To me, Kris Draper will always be a shining example of what a hockey player should be. Being traded away from the ‘Peg for a dollar and coming to Detroit, embracing his role in the organization and taking it all in stride Kris has always been a class act. He gave hope to every hockey player growing up, like myself, who lacked the skill of a superstar scorer that if you trained hard enough, wanted it bad enough and worked at it you could be a champion and make a name for yourself as a hockey player. He gave hope to players who have a skill set that many if not most coaches may overlook. The ultimate steal, I think every Wings fan would agree with me that Drapers face belongs on the $1 bill.

  15. Erik_in_AZ says:

    I have always enjoyed watching Kris play. He perfectly blended hard-nosed, hard working hockey with a touch of real class. I will miss cheering him on but I’m glad to see he will be staying with the team. Another reason the Wings are the class of the NHL, they recognize talent in all forms.

  16. Kris Draper is the ultimate team player, coach’s dream and worked extremely hard to make the most of his ability, for the good of the team. His dedication to the community and the fans parallels his devotion to his career. The world, not just hockey, would be much better place if more people poured their hearts and souls into life like Kris Draper.

  17. Lynne says:

    Chris, you will be missed, the original “Grind Line”, got us the Cup at least 3 times. Best $1 the Wings Managemnet ever spent. Good Luck on your new position in the front offices. Exceptional career, and work ethic, the young players will miss your leadership.

  18. Wayne Parker says:

    To a Great RED WING!!!!! GOODBYE
    To Kris Draper-Kris…another class act that cannot be duplicated by very many players in the league past and present!!!! Thank You for your thrills,chills,and everything else a player like you could bring to the Wings!!!! One of my favorite Wings of all time….your work ethic on the ice was spectacular and will be missed by all!!!!! Go forward in life with the knowledge your fans are with you always and will never forget you!!!!!! PEACE OUT!!!!!!
    By: Wayne Parker

  19. Stace Smith says:

    Thank you Mr. Draper, Mr Osgood for making me fall in love the winged wheel and the game. No matter what the score is never give up and play the game like you are going to win. This is what you two and the whole team has shown me and taught me as a child. Now i am passing this down to my children. I will never be able to say it enough to you or any of the teammates past, present, future. Thank you Red Wings

  20. Patrick says:

    thanks for 17 great seasons in the winged wheel, One Dollar Man!

  21. Joy A Ferris says:

    What can you say about a guy who was traded to the Wings for a dollar? Plenty! I will miss his ever present smile during pre game practices. His kindness towards our youth (I wonder if he remembers a “cute little girl in pink glasses” asking him to sign a practice puck the day after he gave it to her). His willingness to donate time to charity. His silliness in the locker room. And most of all, I will miss seeing his hockey talent and good sportsmanship on the ice. On behalf of the “little girl in pink glasses” and the rest of the Ferris household – Best Wishes to you and your family and Thank you ever so much for sharing “all of you” with “all of us”!

  22. Hardest working athlete in sports….Couldn’t stop him!

  23. Mike Blackwell says:

    Best “Looney” the Red Wings ever spent….

  24. Brent Sundquist says:

    Kris Draper is always a class act in my book. Worked hard and never complained about being a 4th line center. His speed and skill always made that line a threat and he was always a threat to score a short hander on a kill. Your class and your dedication to the game and to Hockeytown will forever be missed. Thank you again for all the great memories!!!

  25. Larry T says:

    We will miss you on the ice, good luck Kris.

  26. James Pelling says:

    Can’t believe it as he is and still will always be my favourite wing. So much heart, energy and speed on the ice and a complete gentleman off it. His work ethic for one, is sure gonna be missed as he has inspired all those around you to believe on what being part of a team is all about. Seeing number 33 tear up the ice and put a shift in every game with that never say die attitude represents this wings team. A redwing warrior forever – thanks for everything Draps. #33

  27. James Pelling says:

    Can’t believe it as he is and still will always be my favourite wing. So much heart, energy and speed on the ice and a complete gentleman off it. His work ethic for one, is sure gonna be missed as he has inspired all those around you to believe on what being part of a team is all about. Seeing number 33 tear up the ice and put a shift in every game with that never say die attitude represents the class this wings team has. A redwing warrior forever – thanks for everything Draps. #33

  28. Ward Ahearn says:

    Its a sad day for Detroit to lose such a valuable player who was always there when they needed him. He may not go to the Hall of Fame but I am sure the will retire his jersey to show him how much he meant to the franchise. He has played with a lot of great Redwing players and shown he deserved to be there with them. He will be greatly missed on the ice by his team mates but he will not be missed by his opposition ! 🙂

  29. Kirsten Welborn says:

    Number 33 Oh how we will miss thee. One of the best dollars ever spent Winnipeg really lost out there, you can’t get anything like him at a dollar store. I remember watching Wings games on TV and seeing the Hockeytown Authentics Commercial where the guys asks for a Certificate of Authenticity and Draper opens up from between the rack of jerseys and says “I wore it alright!” Then appears later in the commercial when the same guy is facing a mirror and says “Yeah, those were mine too.” That just showed him as a person, he had great sense of humor and his career wasn’t what his whole life revolved around, he cared for his family. Him and those cool crocs he sported on the Red Wings TV online episode, and even how he admits to Justin Bieber poster. What a man! Even as he stays in Detroit he shows his loyalty to this town, and this team. From playing out there on the front lines as a forward to moving on the front of the office, Kris Draper will always be a Winged Warrior. They always say Red Bull gives you wings, but the Red Wings make you earn them in Hockeytown, and Draper did. Always worth more than a dollar he was priceless!

  30. Debi Gardner says:

    Kris will always be one of the all time best players..In March of this year I and my newly deceased husband got to meet him personally, he is so caring and compassionate, a true gentleman, with a heart of gold, he spoke with my husband, who had a brain tumor, and then he turned around and said…”just a minute, I’ll be right back”…he returned with an autographed #33 hockey stick, which left my husband awe struck!! What an inspiration he was to us both….no one can ever take his place, he will truly be missed on the ice, but will forever be in our hearts…:) I am so glad he will still be a part of such a great organization….Best wishes to you Kris, you are one in a always your fans…..Debi and (Gary Gardner) ❤

  31. Ashley bradybaugh says:

    number 33 the guy who has won stanely cups with the wings who has been a great team player and like he said hes going miss it and we are going to miss him!…we are never going to forget the blood sweat tears and sacrific you have have gave us to be a part of one of the best hockey teams we have ever seen! we love you draper and just like u shed tears so will we! we will miss and love you draper!

  32. Derek Nicely says:

    I’ll never ever forget Kris Draper. My daughter was sick and suffering from Rasmussen’s Encephalitis and had recently had the left side of her brain removed. Coach Mike Babcock was nice and generous enough to give us two tickets to a game at the Joe complete with a coaches visit prior to the game. While visiting with Coach Bobcock Draper stopped by and gave my daughter an autographed hockey stick. I’ll never ever forget that day! Thank you Draper for the memories.

  33. Lisa Wilson says:

    Remember you from your Adirondack days and hanging out at Dango’s after. Most memorable was witness you shoo off other kids in order to drop a puck in a handicapped kids lap. Class act you are!

  34. mmitchell101 says:

    I remember when my son and I won tickets to a “Meet the Wings” event at the Joe. Kris Draper was there, having been recently acquired. He took my son, Michael, and along with Dallas Drake, showed him how to do a slap shot. He was so nice to a young hockey player. My son and I neve forgot his kindness. He is a gentleman hockey player. Class all the way. We’ll miss you Drapes. Much luck.

  35. Shelly says:

    Kris Draper you are my favorite hockey player (besides my 16 yr. old son of course), no seriously you are a wonderful person and we will miss watching you on the ice. Thank you for being a role model for my son and many other young hockey players. We have been blessed to have you on the best hockey team in the world. You truly helped make it what it is now and we are still blessed to have you remain in Detroit. Best wishes always to you and your family.

  36. Wes Harper says:

    I posted a one-word comment to the Wings’ FB page and I’ll repeat it here. “Nooooooooo!”
    Kris seems to be on every Wings fan’s favorites list. Hard working, friendly, classy, giving to the community and people in general (see others’ posts). I will so miss seeing #33 out there grinding and fighting and performing just the way the coaches wanted him to. They knew his skill-set and he fit right in wherever they wanted him. And kudos to the class of sports organizations, the Wings, for finding a place for him to continue his influence.

  37. jim sorensen says:

    The first wing I ever met and one of my all time favorites. He had a store pull up a chair for me to sit and talk with him while he was doing an appearance. Couldn’t help but like the guy then.
    Honestly though in this age of modern player it is rare to ever have someone with the character and qualities drapes has. He was not just proud to play but he was genuinely proud of being a red wing and being from Detroit .
    Every time I met him he always had a smile and was talkative …not like many of these upity athletes too good for there fans. He was a hard worker who let his actions talk …. and not his mouth.
    You’ll be missed Kris …I only hope you can teach the new players how to be the class act you always were. Thank you for everything you have done for Detroit

  38. Jen Hammer says:

    I’ve been watching Draper since the day I started watching professional hockey. He’s always been a favorite of mine, and it is sad to see it all come to an end. He was an ethical yet fearless machine on the ice. A true star. He will be missed!! 😦

  39. wyatt profili says:

    Talk about about bang for your buck! Thanks for all the great seasons Draper! 33 should be retired from the wings. Glad to hear you will be back in the office to guide our younger wings to glory. Very classy guy on and off the ice and a very key role player on the team. From your fans out here in British Columbia here’s to you Chris!

  40. Joseph Patrick says:

    Ive watched Drapes from the first day he became a Detroit Red Wing until he announced his retirement as a player and he has given his all every time he touched the Ice. Off the Ice every time I came in contact with him, he was CLASS all the way. A Young Hockey player could pattern himself after Drapes. I was at a CATCH Charity softball game back in the 90’s and I had my CENTRE ICE jersey on and I already had MAC and Malts autographs on it. All I needed was Drapes Autograph to complete the Grind Line. He was already at his vehicle with security around him. I explained that I needed his autograph to complete the Grind Line and he said let me change my shoes Sir and I will be more than glad to Autograph it for you. I donated that Jersey to a Fund Raiser for my Co-workers Son’s baseball team for equipment and it raised over $500.00. Thanks Drapes for making the time and making a difference and thx for the great MEMORIES and for your contribution in winning 4 Stanley Cups. Good Luck and God Bless in your future Endeavors.

  41. Heather Hunt says:

    We will miss you Drapes. What a wonderful career you have had, and a wonderful classy player for Detroit. My favorite Kris Draper memory is entwined with my favorite Vlady Konstantinov memory. I met Vlady at a signing at Gibraltor in 1996, right after The Incident. I waited my turn and then leaned forward on the table to Vlady and demanded that he “do me a favor”. He had a shocked look on his face, and smiled nervously. I told him that next time they play the Avs, he HAD to knock Claude into NEXT WEEK! He got a big grin on his face and said, ” I do THAT for you!”…. I can’t help but think of both players and what an unfortunate incident did to galvanize a team into a wonderful winning machine. Somehow, Drapes, your taking one for the team, really led the team to WIN it all for YOU and then later for Vlady!

  42. Tani Mough says:

    Congratulations Kris Draper on 17 years in the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings! Your dedication to conditioning, work ethic and drive to give 110% no matter what line you played on, made you a fan favorite in Detroit. Your willingness to give to others and pride in your team endeared you to hockey fans worldwide. Thank you for all the great memories, your 04 Selke, 4 Stanley Cups, and sharing your family and career with us fans. You will be missed! All the Best to you and your family as you continue your career with Wings OrganIzation.

  43. Scotty O says:

    Remarkable Man, Remarkable Career! Congrats Kris!

  44. mike casteel says:

    Turn the page:(

  45. Darin Carpenter says:

    When my boy Matt was about three, his favorite Red Wing was Draper. We stood in line to see Kris, Kirk Maltby & Joey Kocer (the original grindline). Matt was wearing a Beetle Borg toy on his wrist. When we told Kris he was Matt’s favorite player, Kris made a huge deal about the toy! Kris made sure the other guys looked at it & made a fuss before posing for a picture with the boys; Matt left there walking three feet off the ground and a smile wider than his face! I sent a birthday card to the Joe with the return envelope addressed, and right before their birthdays, the card showed up signed by Kris. He’s always had time for his fans, always gave his all on the ice, and will be greatly missed by all Wings fans!

  46. Daniel Mowry says:

    Thank you Kris Draper – thank you, thank you!
    You’ve been a class act, a real gentleman, a role model, and someone that’s made me proud to be a Red Wings fan. The Grind Line was the backbone of the Wings’ finest and you can bet there’s a lot of us that know how much you’ve done for the team!
    Thanks for giving it your all and giving it your best for 17 years!!! You will be missed.

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