Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit’s hockey team which is now known as the Detroit Red Wings, started as the Detroit Cougars on September 25, 1926. The Cougars were originally from Victoria, British Columbia, but the team was sold to Detroit on September 25th

During the fall of 1926, the Cougars’ home arena was in Windsor, Canada. In 1936, Jack Adams joined the team as their general manager and coach and the Cougars moved to Olympia Stadium in fall of 1927. The next season (1928-1929), the Detroit Cougars made the NHL playoffs for the first time.

The team was still struggling when Adams temporarily changed its name to the Detroit Falcons. Millionaire James Norris, Sr. decided to invest in the team and together Adams and Norris decided on a new name – the Detroit Red Wings. The winged wheel was also adopted as the team’s logo. 

In 1936 and then again in 1937, the Red Wings were the best in the NHL, winning the team’s first and second Stanley Cups.During the 1940s the NHL grew in size and many prominent players, including Ted Lindsay, Gordie Howe, Red Kelly and Terry Sawchuk joined the team. During the 1950 playoffs, an octopus was thrown on Detroit’s rink during the game. Its eight tentacles were supposed to represent the eight games needed to win the Stanley Cup at the time.  A tradition was born and the 1950s would bring four more Stanley Cups to the team.

In 1963, Gordie Howe broke the record for most NHL career goals when he scored his 545th goal. In 1979 the Red Wings left Olympia Stadium and moved to their current home, Joe Louis Arena.

Mike and Marian Ilitch bought the Detroit Red Wings in 1982 from the Norris family and they hired James “Jimmy” Devallano as general manager. In 1983, Devellano drafted a young Steve Yzerman for the team. Although the team would have some successes in the mid- and late 1980s, it failed in its ultimate quest to recapture the Stanley Cup.

The 1990s brought coach Scotty Bowman and two consecutive Stanly Cup Championships in 1997 and 1998 to the organization, which led to the christening of Detroit as “Hockeytown.” After Bowman retired, the Red Wings continued to have success on the ice, winning the Stanley Cup in 2002 and 2008.

 


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