Greg Buchanan has played alongside a number of great former National Hockey League players during his time on the alumni circuit, but his next venture certainly has an added flavor.
“I’ve done a lot of things in my life, hockeywise, but I’ve never pulled on the red, white and blue,” Buchanan said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking. For the Red Wings (in alumni games), you’re looking at a state and one group of fans and teammates. Here, you have the whole country.”
Buchanan, a former member of the Red Wings organization, will play in net when Team USA takes on Team Canada in an NHL Alumni charity hockey game, held March 25 at Howelsen Ice Rink in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
The Sussex resident was the driving force behind the Blackhawks-Red Wings All-Star Game that sold out the Mullett Center in Hartland last November. The event probably will do the same when the second installment rolls around Nov. 4, 2017. He’s now been asked to play goalie for Team USA as part of the Steamboat Hockey Classic, which also includes a kids camp in Colorado.
Buchanan has flown to St. Louis and Plymouth, Michigan, getting ice time with his Team USA teammates as they work to establish chemistry in advance of the showcase.
“It’s quite the honor, being my age,” said Bucahanan, 52. “The great thing is that there’s a couple Blackhawks on each roster, and we can do some recruiting of other Blackhawks that weren’t playing in my game last November. I recruited a couple other Red Wings over the past couple of months when I went and played in the University of Michigan vs. Red Wings game.”
Buchanan has also been training with ex-Milwaukee Admirals in pickup hockey games on Friday mornings to get time between the pipes against top-flight talent.
More than any other sport, the NHL keeps an active presence with alumni events.
“When you see the level of play of some of these guys (you’d be amazed),” Buchanan said. “Petr Klima, he’s in his mid-50s and can skate like nobody’s business. Chris Chelios is absolutely amazing. A lot of guys stay in shape because they have kids playing in high school or college hockey, so they’re playing or coaching.”