DETROIT, Mich. — Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill used words like "special" and "surreal" when describing the feeling of playing for the team he grew up watching.
"Really special for me, personally," Merrill told reporters following Thursday's training camp practice. "Just to walk around the locker room, see all the photos on the walls, it feels like I've watched those Hockeytown VHS videos a million times, so I've seen all those pictures on the walls a million times as a kid."
Merrill was born in Oklahoma City but grew up in Michigan, playing youth hockey for the Little Caesars organization and later playing for the U.S. National Team Development Program and the University of Michigan.
Merrill agreed to a one-year contract with the Red Wings in October after spending the past three seasons with the Vegas Golden Knights.
"It's definitely a little surreal," Merrill said. "I've got to pinch myself sometimes in the locker room. You see all the great names up all over, so it's something I don't take lightly and something I'm really honored to be a part of."