Sports Illustrated’s Alex Prewitt wrote an article regarding last month’s “Stars and Stripes Showdown” in Plymouth, Michigan, suggesting that the Dylan Larkin-organized exhibition game displayed the fine state of hockey in the United States:
Partway through pregame warmups for the Stars & Stripes Showdown, the summer exhibition that he helped organize to honor the late USA Hockey executive Jim Johannson, Dylan Larkin remembers surveying the star-studded scene in Plymouth, Mich., and remarking to himself, simply, “Holy crap, look at these guys out here.”
At first, the Red Wings forward was simply relieved that his peers were all there. Scores of calls, texts and meetings had dovetailed toward the sold-out event on Aug. 26, seven months after Johannson died of heart failure at 53. A live auction would be held. Tickets for autograph sessions would be sold. Proceeds would either benefit grassroots hockey programs, or help send Johannson’s two-year-old daughter Ellie to college. And Larkin, as a native of nearby Waterford and graduate of the national team development program, had volunteered to make sure the talent showed up.
Once those initial nerves were quelled—“I was like, ‘Thank god everyone’s here, it’s happening,’”—Larkin began to internalize the names of those skaters buzzing around USA Hockey Arena.