THE FLYING PRIESTS OF DETROIT
In 1968, a group of clergy and seminarians from the Archdiocese of Detroit met regularly to play hockey during the week. They were at that time the only hockey team in the United States comprised of priests. Although most games were informal matches the team members also played exhibition games against the Detroit Police Department, Fire Department and other laymen groups, including matches against a team of priests across the Canadian border in Windsor, Ontario.
Besides Bishop Tom Gumbleton--the only hockey-playing bishop in the country--some of the "Flying Priests" became well-known pastors in the Detroit Catholic community and beyond. One notable player was Fr. Kenneth Untener, a fierce player on the ice despite having a wooden prosthesis leg who in later years was appointed bishop of Saginaw, Michigan. Another, Fr. Norman Thomas, went on to become the pastor of Sacred Heart Church, a strong African-American parish in Detroit noted for its political activism and community engaged in social justice.
American Prophet provides a glimpse into the world of Detroit's Flying Priests, their lives on and off the ice, the bonds that grew between them, and the impact of their friendship on the communities they served.