Justin Abdelkader takes flight with Navy Blue Angels

BELLEVILLE, Mich. (WXYZ) - Justin Abdelkader's only 24.

But he's doing some serious damage to his bucket list.

He was drafted by his favorite team. He played with his boyhood idols and won a Stanley Cup with them. Wednesday, another lifelong dream took him to new heights.

"It's unbelievable to have an opportunity like this to fly with the Blue Angels," Abdelkader said. "To go up, it's something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

"I always grew up fascinated, going to the air show and watching the Blue Angels fly a few times. To actually go up in one is an honor."

Lt. David Tickle was Justin's co-pilot, and was impressed by the Muskegon-born NHLer's toughness.

"He's an athlete, so his body's used to the pressure that I put him through," Lt. Tickle said.

"A lot of times I didn't know which way we were going," Abdelkader laughed. "Sometimes I would ask him, are going right or left? Up or down? "

The former Michigan State Spartan said he had some fun when he flew over his college rival's stadium.

"Joking around when we flew over Ann Arbor, went over the Big House. If we would have had a couple bombs on it, maybe we would've dropped a couple on there," he joked.

Of the experience, Abdelkader said "Just like you dream of playing hockey in the NHL, you dream of going up in a fighter jet in a Blue Angel."

After knocking off yet another accomplishment off his bucket list, the only thing Abdelkader said he was looking forward to was a big breakfast. The Red Wing forward said he ate lightly before the flight.

Lucky for him, things went without a hitch -- or a hickup.


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