Born on January 21, 1987, in St. Andrews, Manitoba, Helm developed a love for hockey at an early age. He honed his skills on the local rinks, dreaming of one day playing in the National Hockey League (NHL). Helm's exceptional speed on skates quickly became his trademark, setting him apart from other players in his age group.
Helm's talent didn't go unnoticed, and he was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the fifth round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He was a key member of some very strong Medicine Hat Tigers junior teams. His last year of junior was memorable. Not only did he help Canada win gold at the World Junior hockey championships at Christmas time, but he helped the Tigers win the WHL championship in 2007. The Tigers lost the championship game at the Memorial Cup final to the Vancouver Giants.
Helm made his NHL debut with the Red Wings, in the 2007-08 season, though he would spend most of his first two pro seasons apprenticing in the minor leagues. Even though he was not a regular Red Wing forward until the 2009-10 season, the Red Wings called him up to play 18 Stanley Cup playoff games in 2008, despite just 7 games of regular season experience. He scored two goals and two assists but made a name for himself with his speed and tireless checking.
Despite his Stanley Cup success, the deep Red Wings returned Helm to the minor leagues for more seasoning for most of the 2008-09 season. but again would be called upon for the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2009 where the Wings famously were edged out by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Here's an interesting statistic - Darren Helm scored six Stanley Cup playoff goals before scoring his first NHL regular season goal - a record.
With two strong Stanley Cup playoff appearances under his belt, Helm finally made the Red Wings team in 2009-10. Though he seemed like a grizzled veteran, he was still eligible for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year (though he never came close to winning the award.)
Helm became a regular 10 goal, 25 point player whose true value could never be measured by standard hockey statistics. He was an energy guy who, with his speed and reckless abandon, could change the flavor of the game in a single shift - be it with a burst of speed or big hit.
Looking to get younger, the rebuilding Red Wings let Helm walk as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021. He ended up signing with the arch rival Colorado Avalanche and immediately helped the Avs win the 2022 Stanley Cup, scoring a key goal against the St. Louis Blues.
Darren Helm retires having played