Former FSU standout Redmond makes NHL debut

SUNRISE, Fla. — Another Bulldog has left his paw print in the NHL ranks.

Former Ferris State defenseman Zach Redmond made his NHL debut on Thursday for the Winnipeg Jets against the Florida Panthers.

Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba, who is Redmond’s uncle, was excited and relieved to see his nephew skating confidently among the NHL’s best while realizing his professional dream.

ARRIVAL: Former Ferris State defenseman Zach Redmond made his NHL debut with the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. (Courtesy photo)

“I’m very proud and excited for him, because he’s earned it,” Warba said. “He’s exceeding expectations and I’m proud of him in so many ways, particularly that he earned his degree.”

Warba and other family members were anxiously waiting for Redmond, a Traverse City native, to make his NHL debut after making the Jets’ roster on Jan. 18. Prior to that, Redmond had starred as a member of the St. Johns IceCaps of the American Hockey League, where he had compiled 17 points in 36 games in earning a spot in the league’s All-Star game.

While it had been a bit of a waiting game to see Redmond skate out on the ice for the first time, it was a big moment for Warba, both as an uncle and as a Big Rapids resident.

“It’s certainly a positive for Ferris State to have another grad that has gone on to the professional ranks,” he said. “He’s in good company, certainly, with players like Chris Kunitz. It speaks very well for the coaches at Ferris State and for the Big Rapids community to be represented by ‘one of its own.’”

Redmond appeared on regular shifts during his debut, including some action on the power-play and penalty kill.

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