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Above: On the cover of the June 26, 2007 issue of Soap Opera Digest.

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Soap (Opera) and (Frozen) Water in All My Red Wings

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Soap (Opera) and (Frozen) Water in All My Red Wings

New York Times

by Vincent M. Mallozzi, Published December 30, 2008

On a recent afternoon at ABC Studios in Manhattan, Thorsten Kaye wore his Detroit Red Wings shirt in back-to-back love scenes.

Kaye, who plays the casino owner Zach Slater on the soap opera “All My Children,” finished rehearsing with Alicia Minshew, who plays his wife, Kendall Hart. Then he rolled up his script and walked to his dressing room and opened the door.

“This is like my own little Detroit locker room,” Kaye said, smiling. “This room is my tribute to the Red Wings.”

Kaye, who said he is looking forward to their season opener on Thursday night against Toronto, sat on a small bed covered by sheets emblazoned with the team’s winged-wheel logo. A giant logo loomed on a wall above his head, and other Red Wings memorabilia was scattered about, including an overhead light fixture that resembled the scoreboard at Joe Louis Arena. On Kaye’s scoreboard, the home team is always leading, 2-1. 

“Look at that,” Kaye said, pointing to an empty Champagne bottle signed by all the Red Wings after they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins to win the Stanley Cup last season. “I wish I was there to celebrate with them that night.”

Kaye saw three games of the finals in Detroit but could not make it to Game 6 in Pittsburgh, where the Red Wings raised the Cup. He was in the studio that day, but he watched most of the game in character, through his cameraman’s lens.

“My camera guy put the game on his viewfinder so that I could see it while we were filming,” Kaye said. 

Slater often wears Red Wings jerseys and caps, and plays hockey with his young sons on the show. 

“My character is a misunderstood family man who just does what he needs to do,” Kaye said. “But being a Red Wings fan makes him a lot more human.”

Kaye, 42, was born in Mainz, Germany, and grew up in London. He came to the United States when he was 17, on a track and field scholarship at United States International University in San Diego, now Alliant International. He moved to Detroit to study acting at Wayne State University. By the time Kaye completed his master’s degree in classical theater, his affection for the Red Wings, and for hockey, had flourished.

“Hockey is the greatest sport in the world, and in my opinion, has the greatest athletes,” Kaye said. “You never hear a hockey player talking about himself in the third person, like so many other athletes from other sports.”

Kaye said his most memorable night at Joe Louis Arena was Jan. 2, 2007, when the Red Wings retired Steve Yzerman’s No. 19 jersey.

“I have been around actors my entire life, but I can tell you that the tears for Yzerman that night were very real,” he said. “And I don’t think I’ve ever heard a longer standing ovation.” 

Though Kaye has become friendly with some players, notably Chris Chelios, he could not get any of them to say he was a soap opera fan.

“People never admit to watching the soaps,” Kaye said, grinning. “But I’ve been in the trainer’s room a few times and the soaps are on while guys are getting taped up and rubbed down, so somebody’s watching.”

Kaye, who proudly displayed his autographed photo of Darren McCarty hoisting the Stanley Cup last season, as well as a game-used stick autographed by Yzerman, has shrines to the Red Wings at his homes in New York and Detroit, and in Connecticut, where he lives with the actress Susan Haskell and their daughters, McKenna, 5, and Marlowe, 18 months.

Last season, Kaye won new fans in Detroit by blogging on

“I was most impressed with Thorsten’s knowledge about the Red Wings and his overall knowledge of the game,” Roberta McCarty, Darren’s mother, said in a telephone interview. “I also met Thorsten in person during the playoffs last season, and it was refreshing to talk to a celebrity who truly cared about his team and really knew his hockey.”