By JAMES COOK
TRAVERSE CITY -- You would think a guy would take it easy when he retires.
Not Dallas Drake.
Of course, retiring when you're 39, you probably have a little more get-up-and-go than your typical retiree.
After winning his first Stanley Cup -- with the team that originally drafted him -- the Traverse City resident retired, brought the Cup to TC and then dove head-first into youth hockey.
Drake coaches his daughter Delaney's Squirt AA team, the Bayshore Bruins, and helps out with his son Jackson's PeeWee A Pepsi Rangers squad. Throw in some work with the Traverse City Central high school team, and Drake is keeping a pretty hectic schedule for a retiree.
"It keeps me busy," Drake said. "I haven't been out with the high school team as much as I'd like, but I'm at the rink almost more than when I played."
Drake returned to the Detroit Red Wings for the 2007-08 season. He was drafted by Detroit and made it out of training camp with the Wings in 1992. He was traded to Winnipeg in 1994. The Wings signed the free agent veteran in the summer of 2007 and went on to win the 2008 Stanley Cup. Drake played in his 1,000th career regular-season game.
He said he had made up his mind that it would be his last season in the NHL.
"That's something I'd planned on doing this year anyway," Drake said. "A lot of players aren't able to go out the way I was able to."
Drake -- who only played one game in the minors -- finished his career with 477 points in 1,009 regular-season games and another 33 points in 90 playoff contests. He won a national championship at Northern Michigan University in 1991.
Drake asked the Red Wings for two days with the Stanley Cup, taking it to his hometown in British Columbia for a day and bringing it to Traverse City for "Stanley by the Bay," an event he used to generate funds for youth hockey.
"It was an amazing summer, being able to bring the Cup here and to my parents (in British Columbia)," Drake said. "That's something special that I'll never forget."