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Even non-sports fans getting into the Red Wings spirit

June 7, 1997

DETROIT (AP) _ Take a cup of sunshine, a dash of hope, a pinch of the Russian Five and two heaping cups of spirit and you have the recipe for a city anticipating its first Stanley Cup in 42 years.

``How could you not be caught up in Red Wing mania?″ asked Tim Pielick, 28, of Hartland as he milled around downtown wearing a Brendan Shanahan jersey and taking in the sights.

``(Losing in 1995) was a big disappointment, and I’m kind of looking forward to this,″ he said. ``It’s nice to see that they could sweep on Saturday.″

The possibility of the Red Wings beating the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 tonight has the entire city seeing red. Red car flags, red jerseys, red banners, red T-shirts abound, and one fan even has freshly dyed red hair.

At Thursday night’s Detroit Tigers-Seattle Mariners game at Tiger Stadium, a Tigers spokesman said the enthusiasm from Game 3 of the Red Wings series _ played just miles away _ could be felt with every goal.

``Every time they would score a goal, (the baseball fans) would cheer,″ Tyler Barnes said. ``And a lot of them were wearing Red Wings paraphernalia.″

The enthusiasm hasn’t escaped large companies. Kroger Co.’s regional office in Livonia asked area stores to remove Philadelphia Cream Cheese from the shelves during game time.

``It’s been real fun and an upbeat positive thing,″ said Bob Cieslak, a manager at a Grosse Pointe Kroger. ``People really enjoy it. Red Wing mania has hit everybody, all ages young and old.″

If a customer does find the need for the cream cheese during game time, a store employee will get it, he said. But who wants to ask?

Shortly after midday Friday, downtown was packed with people sporting Red Wings gear. Hundreds of people stood in line outside the Renaissance Center to get a look at the Stanley Cup and buy more memorabilia.

Mark Hassell, 32, of Troy pushed a sleepy 2-year-old in a stroller adorned with Red Wings flags.

``He loves the Wings,″ Hassell said about the curly head youngster who appeared more intent on finding a comfortable sleeping position in his stroller. ``He may not remember it, but when he gets older, I can tell him he was a part of it all in a way.

``I’m kind of a big fan too as you can see,″ he said referring to his Red Wings cap, T-shirt, shorts and temporary Red Wings tattoo on his arm.

Also downtown a steady stream of visitors took pictures in front of the Spirit of Detroit statue at the City-County building. The huge green man also sports a size 500-plus jersey.

``That’s the real spirit of Detroit these days. Red Wings fever,″ Charlie Lin of Jackson said as he snapped pictures of his wife and sons posing with the statue.

For Bob Zuckowski of Highland, the possibility of the Red Wings winning has meant a financial windfall. He sold his three playoff tickets on Thursday for $2,500.

``I sold my tickets for one reason. I have children and the amount being offered, it was almost ridiculous not to sell the tickets,″ he said.

Still, he brought his wife, Stacey and three sons downtown to look at the cup.

Tonight, he will sit at home and watch the team that last won the Stanley Cup when he was one month old. It might be a bigger TV now considering his windfall, he said.

``I can root for them at home just as well.″

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