The Winged Wheel Podcast, hosted by three avid Detroit Red Wings fans, is going above and beyond in its efforts to raise money for a cause that is quite important to them. Born in February of 2015, the podcast was created by Ryan Hana, Brad Krysko, and Evan Lobsinger, three lifelong Red Wings fans who spent their entire lives playing hockey and immersing themselves in Hockeytown's history.
“We actually came together online via Reddit, when Brad and I (independently of one another) were seeking to start a podcast,” said Ryan. “Brad made a post asking if anybody in his area was interested, which Evan and I both replied to. After meeting at a local coffee shop to ensure that nobody was an axe murderer, we got together at Brad's house a week later and started recording. The rest is history,” he said.
Who Are the Hosts of The Winged Wheel Podcast?
Naturally, each of the three, lead tremendously different lives away from the podcast. Brad, a father of two (who Ryan proclaims are already better at hockey than Brad), fully embodies the “hockey is life” mentality.
“Every waking moment not spent working, eating, sleeping, or parenting is dedicated to hockey,” he says. Whether that be the podcast, his Senior-A hockey league, multiple beer leagues, or pickup games, his hockey fandom is unquestionable. He also considers himself as an equipment enthusiast.
Evan, on the other hand, has the inverse of Brad's energy level. Coming across as stoic – almost even reserved – he's just as passionate about the game. Having played the game at a high level over the years, he has a deep understanding of how the game is played and the ins/outs of hockey – both inside the rink and beyond. “A man of fewer words sometimes, but always of value and deep insight,” said Ryan.
“Brad and Evan will tell you that I can sometimes be the ‘dad' of the show,” Ryan said. “I often find myself having to nag them about scheduling, ideas to improve the show, production, editing, content, planning, etc.” Ryan has been in hockey as long as he can remember. “My dad fell in love with the game from the moment he first started watching it and wanted to immerse me in the Canadian pastime,” he said. “I was a defenseman my whole life, and thus have a deep appreciation for the defensive aspect of the game.”
The Winged Wheel Podcast and the Jamie Daniels Foundation
In early 2020 Detroit Red Wings season, the hosts of the Winged Wheel Podcast became involved with the Jamie Daniels Foundation. Established by his parents Lisa Daniels-Goldman and Ken Daniels (play-by-play voice of the Red Wings), the Jamie Daniels Foundation provides support for youth and adolescents who are battling Substance Use Disorder (also known as SUD).
Their website (which can be found here) tells the story of Jamie Daniels, the son of Lisa and Ken. Lisa also chronicles Jamie's experience with SUD on their website, explaining that Jamie passed away in December of 2016 after a lethal dose of a synthetic opioid that contained heroin laced with fentanyl. His battle with SUD included struggles with abusing prescription medication, a relapse, and consultations with multiple specialists. Despite struggles along the way, Jamie was determined to address his substance use, anxiety, and depression.
The hosts of the Winged Wheel Podcast became involved with the Jamie Daniels organization after noticing the growth of their show, the impact that they have on their audience, and the ability to use the platform for good. “It didn't feel right to benefit from this incredible community without giving back somehow,” said Ryan. “It was through watching Red Wings games that we came to know of the Jamie Daniels Foundation (also referred to as the ‘JDF').
Though there are an infinite amount of causes worthy of attention, their fight against SUD is one that we felt was important and could use the extra attention. Our partnership was actually more than a year in the making (thanks to COVID), but fortunately, one that has proven to be at least somewhat beneficial to the foundation.”
The Winged Wheel Podcast and Their Ongoing Support of the JDF
Through multiple different initiatives, the Winged Wheel Podcast has been fortunate enough to raise both awareness and funds for the JDF. At this point, they have mainly relied on two main initiatives in their fundraising efforts for the foundation: “Wings Money on the Board”, and Winged Wheel Podcast Nights at the LCA (Little Caesars Arena), which is through a partnership with the Red Wings.
The “Wings Money on the Board” initiative consists of fans registering and making pledges. Fans get to pick the parameters of their pledges (examples include $5 for every David Perron goal this season, $1 for each Moritz Seider hit this year, etc). Pledges can be for as little as one game or season-long. At the end of the season, fans make their donations and can then be entered for giveaways through the podcast.
Winged Wheel Podcast Nights at the LCA have been big hits, as well. To date, there have been three such events, with their next scheduled for April 8, 2023. Fans of the show are invited to buy tickets to the particular game through a unique link, where they find discounted tickets for the game. The Detroit Red Wings also donate a portion of each ticket sale for these events to the JDF.
How Much Has the Winged Wheel Podcast Raised for the JDF?
Needless to say, the Winged Wheel Podcast has made a significant financial contribution to the JDF. “At least $40,000 through WWP Nights at the LCA and Wings Money on the Board, with tens of thousands more pledged for this season,” says Ryan. “Our goal is $50,000 for this season, which would bring us to $82,000 total through our initiatives over two seasons.”
Despite making such a great impact on a noble cause, the hosts of the Winged Wheel Podcast remain humble. “Every time we interview a Detroit Red Wings player (Nicklas Lidstrom, Darren McCarty, Kris Draper, etc), we find ourselves shaking our heads and wondering how we got here,” Ryan says. “Partnering with the Detroit Red Wings has also been an incredible experience.
Beyond that, just making connections within the hockey community has been amazing. Whether it be with players, scouts, or executives from across the league, prominent hockey insiders, or developing sources who sometimes share tips or leads on hockey stories, the whole process has been a fun ride.”
There are numerous ways that you can listen to the Winged Wheel Podcast. Take a look at their website to find out how you can join their community!