DETROIT (WXYZ) -- Who says you can't go home?
New Red Wings defenseman Luke Witkowski calls returning to his native Michigan to play for his home-state team a "dream come true."
Detroit signed Witkowski from Tampa Bay Saturday on the opening day of NHL free agency.
There's no shortage of familiarity in Witkowski's return: the Holland native played at Western Michigan with Danny DeKeyser, who he'll be reunited with in Detroit.
"(Danny and I) were (defensive) partners for three years and roommates for one," Witkowski said on a media conference call Saturday. "I think we complemented each other really well, and we kind of bring different elements to the game."
One of Witkowski's seasons as a Bronco came under the leadership of his new NHL head coach, Jeff Blashill.
"I learned a lot from him and from (current Red Wings assistant coach) Pat Ferschweiler. I owe a lot to Fersch, actually, for developing my game in college and getting me ready for the pro game. I'm excited to get back to playing with both of them."
Witkowski expressed his gratitude to the Lightning fans on Sunday, posting a message on Twitter.
— Luke Witkowski (@L28witko) July 2, 2017
"I'm very thankful for everything Tampa provided for me, the opportunity that they gave me," Witkowski said on Saturday's conference call. "But the opportunity to come back to Michigan and play for the Red Wings is a dream come true."