Catching up with Keith Aldridge

brother rice high school mi

Keith Aldridge ’91

 

In 1981, Stan Aldridge and his family bought Indianwood Country Club and vowed to make it the “best country club for members,” after the historic club had fallen to neglect in the greater part of the 1960’s and 70’s.  The club renovation became an Aldridge family project, as Stan and his wife, Sue, along with their six children, helped out in various ways, all contributing to  the restoration of the club.

The Aldridge family also opened and currently operates Olde World Canterbury Village, a historical landmark in Lake Orion near Voorheis Lake. The business sits on more than 21 acres of the former Scrips Farm and is home to more than a dozen specialty shops, yielding wonderful features and year-round family attractions.  Aldridge’s Always Christmas, one of the largest and most unique Christmas stores in Michigan, celebrated its grand opening on October 1, 1993.

 

 

The original buildings in Olde Canterbury Village have all been carefully restored and continue to be productive, all the while preserving an important chapter in Michigan’s history.  As of September 7, 2018, a made-in-Michigan store joined the grounds, offering local goods and creations that are paired with other unique small shops and services scattered throughout the village.  Olde Canterbury Village also offers free community events throughout the seasons, including summer car shows, fall trick-or-treating, and a spring Easter egg hunt.

The youngest son of Stan and Sue’s children, Keith, attended and graduated from Brother Rice High School in 1991. Keith grew up playing hockey and was often out of school due to the demands of travel hockey.  He attended Lake Superior State University and was part of the 1994 NCAA National Championship hockey team.  He was awarded the CCHA Best Offensive Defenseman in 1995-96, and in 1997, Aldridge signed with the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League, where he was named an IHL All-Star in 1998-99. His impressive play led to a professional contract with the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League, where he ended up playing four games with the franchise in 1999.

 

 

On June 11, 2019, the Alumni Association will be hosting the Warrior Cup Challenge at Indianwood Golf & Country Club, returning to the course that hosted this annual event back when the Dads’ Club ran the golf outing.  Alumni Director Dan McGrath ’96 recently had an opportunity to chat with Keith regarding his time at Brother Rice, Indianwood Golf & Country Club and Olde World Canterbury Village.

 

How did Brother Rice prepare you for where you are today? 

Brother Rice is a great place to develop character and discipline.  Those are two very important qualities you need in life to be successful, and Brother Rice does an incredible job bringing these qualities out in every individual.

What is your favorite Brother Rice memory? 

My favorite memory is when we played Country Day in the lacrosse state championship. I scored 6 goals in that championship game, helping to defeat Country Day.

Who is the last Brother Rice alumnus you spoke to? When and where? 

About two weeks ago, I ran into Allen Szydlowski ’85 at a hockey rink in Minnesota where our sons were playing in a tournament.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment and how does Brother Rice factor into your success?

I have a few accomplishments that are all on an equal plain: winning the 1994 National Championship in hockey, playing in the NHL, having 3 sons, and taking over and filling the shoes of a very successful self-made father.  Besides the structure that was established at home through my parent’s influence, I’ve had a lot of great coaches and role models along the way.  Brother Rice supported similar philosophies I learned at home, and the school encouraged my development which helped me become the successful man I am today.

What advice would you give to a student at Brother Rice today? 

Try your best to enjoy the present, because life goes by really fast and you don’t want to miss out on moments that take place now.

Can you tell us a little of history relating to your family and Indianwood Country Club? 

My brothers and I grew up working on the grounds digging ditches.  It was a lot of hard work but it taught us valuable lessons in humility where we learned to work hard but be humble, because nothing in life comes free.

What is your current role at Indianwood Country Club? 

I oversee the whole operation for our family.

You were the Tournament Director of the 2012 U.S. Senior Open when it was held at Indianwood.  How was that experience, and how did your education at Brother Rice prepare you for this role?

 It was a great experience that lasted 7 days a week for 18 straight months.  There were a lot of moving parts to manage and coordinate: over 2,000 volunteers, 50 vendors, 50,000 fans, the USGA, the players, ESPN, NBC, etc.  There were a lot of things happening that we needed to get right the first time around, because everyone was looking at us to make sure things ran smoothly.  There were no do overs; we had to be perfect from the moment the tournament started to the day it was over.  My education at Brother Rice helped instill important qualities that didn’t allow me to fail, and I used these qualities to lead us to a successful event.

What was your high school experience like as a junior traveling hockey player? 

I spent a lot of time away from the classroom and my school friends.  I would think twice about playing AAA hockey in today’s age, as high school programs are so much better now than when I was at Brother Rice.  The games are such an awesome atmosphere.  Why wouldn’t you want to play in front of fellow classmates and, of course, the Marian students?

Can you tell us a little of history relating to your family and Canterbury Village?

In 1991, my father Stan wanted to build his own English style retail village in which the anchor store would be an 80,000 sq. ft. Christmas Shop.  It was a huge undertaking for him and our family.

What is your role as General Manager of Canterbury Village?

Well, this is a very new adventure for me, as I have never been involved in the retail side of the business.  We are in the process of revamping Canterbury into the biggest Made-in-Market in the State.  We are well on our way; phases 1 and 2 sold out with some great Michigan artists.  When all is said and done, we will have over 400 artists involved in the market.  With Amazon taking over the retail industry, we had to come up with an idea that touches shoppers’ hearts, and what better way than by buying Michigan-made products from Michigan artists.  We just opened September 7th, and the response has been great!

What are your ultimate goals for both Indianwood and Canterbury Village? 

I really just want to keep my father’s legacy going for years to come.

Keith has been married to his wife, Angie, for 20 years and they have three children, Laker (17), Gunner (16) and Walker (14).  The Aldridges currently reside in Lake Orion.