An emotional Kris Draper announced his retirement on Tuesday, thanking just about everybody that touched his hockey career, including the fans. And they were more than happy to share their love and affection back, for a player they’ve known over the years as simply ‘Drapes.’
These two responses will receive an autographed Upper Deck card sheet, signed by Draper.
I’ve probably watched Kris Draper more over the last 3 seasons, then other other of his career, ever since my wife’s relative, Darren Helm began his career along side Draper.
I took my daughter Kiera to her first NHL game in Calgary, during the 2009-2010 season, to watch her cousin Darren Helm play. Helm wouldn’t always be the first one out when his line was up, but as soon as my daughter saw Draper jump over the boards, she knew that Darren was quickly to follow. The entire game, she would looking for Darren and knew exactly when to look for him when #33 came on the ice. Kiera has worn #3 over the last 4 seasons because our goalie wears #33, and I’ve always pointed out that Kris Draper is one of the hardest working players in the NHL.
She will always look up to her cousin Darren and follow everything in regards to his career, but it’s Kris’ work ethic I’ve described to her that will always resonate when it comes to her attitude towards the game of hockey, and she likes the fact that she has the same initials as Draper. When she was hockey camp last week, she had a rough first day, and complained about sore legs that night. After giving her a pep talk about what would Kris do, she skated harder the next 2 days, and finished second only to one other kid during skating drills. She was one of only three girls in a camp of 15.
Since getting back the Winnipeg Jets, Kiera has been looking forward to watching the Red Wings at the MTS Centre this season, but was disappointed to find out that they weren’t coming to Winnipeg this year. She will even face more disappointment knowing that KD #33 will no longer be on the ice as well.
If she wasn’t camping with her Mom right now, I would have gotten her to write her own letter describing her love for the Red Wings and her love for KD #33.
Arthur Bignell – St Andrews, Manitoba
Kris Draper #33
Smile, style, heart and work ethic. An awesome beard, personable and a great teammate.
The Red Wings were graced by your presence for 17 years and blessed for every one of them.
Four Stanley Cups, fifth all-time in games played for the Wings. As part of The Grind Line you gave us thrills and chills night after night. You never gave up. Your easy way with fans and teammates alike showed how much you loved hockey and your team. A quality individual always. Thanks for the memories Kris. I will miss watching you play. Best of luck in your new job and I’m glad you will still be here in Detroit. A Red Wing for Life! You will always be in my personal Hockey Hall of Fame … in my heart!
Alice Maslanik – Grand Blanc, Michigan
Other wonderful tributes:
Kris Draper has always been my “dark horse” favorite Red Wing. Sure I love Stevie Y as much as the next Wings fan. Lidstrom, Vlady, D. McCarty, heck even Sergei hold a spot in my Winged Wheel heart.
But Drapes was always the one who I secretly loved to watch. He was fast, he worked so hard, he was tireless. He did the jobs in the corners that others wanted no part of. He was tough and gritty and so the “Grind Line” as it became known was the perfect spot for him and his style of play.
My son was born in April of 2010. My family has a tradition of having the first and middle names start with the letters “K” and “D” respectively. I couldn’t think of a better middle name than Draper.
And so I can only pray that Kellan Draper (my son) grows to have the same heart and determination as one of the Red Wings favorite sons, Kris Draper.
Keegan D. Lockwood – Lansing, Michigan
Congratulations Kris Draper on 17 years in the National Hockey League 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, four 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.
Tani Ann Mough – Winder, Georgia
Draper gave my 4-year-old daughter a hockey puck on 12/19/10 at her first game. She slept with that puck for 3 months. He left a lasting impression on her, and increased her love of hockey. Today is sad for fans, who will no longer see Draper skating wearing “Draper 33,” but what a wonderful career and classy ending for him. How fitting that he is the player featured for the month of July on the Red Wings calendar hanging on our wall. Great player, great human being, great memories. Congratulations on an awesome career.
Jessica Chang – Troy, Michigan
I can’t write anything funny, elegant, witty, or even smart about this because I’m actually teary-eyed. Kris has been my favorite player since I “got into” hockey about 10 years ago. He’s my first and only jersey. Being from nowhere Michigan, it was hard to drive 3+ hours to Detroit to see a game. When I moved to just outside Philly 8 years ago I was able to see him play for the first time against the Flyers and that was awesome–taking it all in with my Draper jersey. Sounds silly, but I had to stop reading the coverage because I am sniffing at work. He’s a part of my hockey family and it’s going to be sad not to look for his #33 on the ice.
Rebecca Kowalewicz – Wenonah, New Jersey
You have been the epitome of a completely fantastic combination;
class, work ethic, an example of how to conduct yourself both on and
off the ice. You came here and were absorbed into a culture filled
with examples of how to do exactly that.
When the time came to become the example to the next generation of
Wing, you did so without question. As you continue your Wing career in
the front office, look around; the success, the building itself, the
trophies. You (and others) built this.
Bill Veik – Brighton, Michigan
How much is a dollar worth? To Detroit fans it’s worth a lifetime of memories. Kris Draper was the centerpiece to one of the greatest checking lines ever, and throughout the years has trained others to take this role. Because even with Stevie’s goals and Nick’s solid play four Stanley Cup titles wouldn’t be possible without a man to do the dirty work. So thank you Kris Draper. A dollar brought you here. But in the end you were priceless.
Andy Hill – Pinckney, MI
33: the epitome of grit and determination for 17 years in Detroit.
Uncompromisingly unselfish. Willing to do whatever is needed for the ‘team’ to succeed. A true example of how to play the game… and how to appreciate the game. One dollar to spend a career linked to one team with 4 Cups.
33: the epitome of what the game should be more often than it is.
Nick LaFave – Duluth, MN