In Hockey Town, there is only one team to support: the Detroit Red Wings. The team currently resides in a luxury sedan or limousine at Joe Louis Arena, located in downtown Detroit. Here are some historical highlights of the team:
The Red Wings date back to the former Western Hockey League, when the Victoria (British Columbia) Cougars were sold to a Detroit group on September 25, 1926. The team played their home games in Windsor, Ontario. The Victoria Cougars had won the Stanley Cup in 1925 and were Cup finalists in 1926, but the Detroit Cougars finished 12-28-4; the worst NHL record for the 1926-27 season.
Help came in 1928, in the form of Jack Adams as the team’s coach and general manager. Adam’s tenure as coach and general manager would last until the 1962-63 season, when Sid Abel took office. With Adams at the helm, the team made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
The team also moved to the new Olympia Stadium for the 1927-28 season. A landmark of Detroit and professional hockey, the Olympia would be home to the franchise until the middle of the 1979-80 season.
Willing to try anything, Jack Adams changed the name of the 1930-31 season to the Detroit Falcons.
In 1932, financial problems ended when grain millionaire and shipping magnate James Norris Sr. bought the equipment. Norris, like Adams, was a Canadian-turned-American. He had once played hockey for Winged Wheelers of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association.
When the two men met, Norris and Adams agreed that the team’s new logo would be a winged wheel and the club’s nickname changed to Red Wings.
The franchise already had some players who would contribute to the team’s first two Stanley Cups in 1936 and 1937, such as Ebbie Goodfellow, Larry Aurie, Herbie Lewis, Hec Kilrea, and John Sorrell. Detroit fell to less than .500 and missed the play-offs in 1934-35, but came back to win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1936, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs three games to one in the final.
The Red Wings repeated as Cup champions in 1937, winning three games to two over the New York Rangers in the final. The 1936 and 1937 teams featured two of the best players to ever use the winged wheel: Ebbie Goodfellow and Syd Howe.
Detroit’s blue line also received an addition in 1938-39 when Jack Stewart was introduced to the NHL. His dark features and physical play earned him the nickname “Black Jack” Stewart and he terrorized opposing forwards with crushing blows and great strength.
The Red Wings advanced to the Stanley Cup finals in 1941 and 1942, losing to the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs. But the Red Wings took revenge on the Bruins and Brimsek by winning the third Stanley Cup in team history in a four-game sweep over Boston in 1943.
With the promotions of Ted Lindsay (1944-45), Gordie Howe (1946-47), Red Kelly (1947-48) and Terry Sawchuk (1949-50) to the NHL and the return of Abel and Stewart from the RCAF, the launched one of the greatest dynasties in NHL history. Detroit finished second overall during the 1947-48 regular season, five points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs. But the team then ran a streak of seven consecutive first overall results from 1948-49 to 1954-55 and won four Stanley Cups (1950, 1952, 1954 and 1955).
The 1950 Stanley Cup was also the first appearance of an octopus on the Detroit ice at a hockey game. The eight tentacles represented the eight games a team needed to win to capture the Stanley Cup.
Detroit did not return to the Stanley Cup finals until 1961, when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. There was jubilation at the 1963 Olympia when Gordie Howe broke Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s record for the most goals in his NHL career with his 545th against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Wings made the playoffs four times from 1966-67 to 1985-86, a period that was highlighted by Howe’s veteran line, Alex Delvecchio and Frank Mahovlich during the 1968-69 and 1969-70 seasons.
The team moved to Joe Louis Arena in December 1979. The stadium hosted the NHL All-Star Game in January 1980. The game featured 50-year-old Gordie Howe, who was in his final season with the Hartford Whalers. after returning to professional hockey. in 1973-74 at the World Hockey Association.
The Norrises sold the Red Wings in 1982 to Mike and Marian Ilitch, owners of Little Caesars Pizza. One of his first hires was Jimmy Devellano as the team’s general manager and he selected an 18-year-old center Steve Yzerman as the fourth overall pick in the 1983 NHL Draft.
Detroit made the playoffs in the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons, but lost in the first round of each season. The Red Wings racked up just 40 points in 1985-86 to finish last overall in the NHL, but the disappointing season would prove to be a step backward before Detroit took several steps in the right direction.
Detroit hired new coach Jacques Demers, who made the 21-year-old Yzerman the team captain. Demers won the Jack Adams Award for NHL Coach of the Year in 1986-87 and 1987-88. In 1988-89, Yzerman set team records for goals, assists, and points with 65 goals, 90 assists, and 155 points, which is the highest point total in NHL history for a player other than Gretzky or Lemieux. .
Young players like Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Vladimir Konstantinov, Slava Kozlov, Keith Primeau, Martin Lapointe, Darren McCarty and Chris Osgood and veterans like Dino Ciccarelli, Paul Coffey and Ray Sheppard were acquired through trade. All but Primeau, Ciccarelli, Coffey and Sheppard contributed to Red Wings’ Stanley Cup victories in 1997 and 1998.
The 1999-2000 season was one of the milestones for the Red Wings. Yzerman scored goal No. 600, Verbeek scored No. 500, Shanahan scored No. 400 and Fedorov won No. 300. Yzerman also recorded his 1,500 point and 900 assist while Verbeek scored his 1,000 point.
The Red Wings finished with the second-best record in the league in 2000-01, but were eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings during the first round of the 2001 playoffs. After finishing second in the Norris Trophy voting for three consecutive years, Lidstrom he eventually won his first Norris as the best defense in the NHL.
In 2001, with a league-best 116 points, the team won the franchise’s 10th Stanley Cup after Red Wings defeated the Carolina Hurricanes in five games during the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals.