Fifteen-plus years spent living, breathing and reading about little else, I’ve stumbled on more than my fair share of interesting tidbits about Detroit’s beloved hockey team.
Here are 10 fascinating fun facts that you might not know about the Red Wings:
1. Detroit’s hockey team underwent two name changes before settling on the Red Wings in 1932. They were known as the Detroit Cougars from 1926 to 1930, and the Detroit Falcons from 1930 to 1932. (Source)
2. The "winged wheel" logo and nickname started in 1932 when millionaire James Norris Sr. purchased Detroit’s struggling team. In a nod to both an amateur hockey team Norris had played for and Detroit’s growing reputation in the automobile industry, the new owner changed the team’s logo to a winged wheel and renamed the team the Red Wings. (Source)
3. The Red Wings participated in the longest game in NHL history, during a playoff match against the Montreal Maroons in March 1936. The game lasted a total of 176 minutes and 30 seconds, the majority of which took place over six overtime periods. Detroit’s Mud Bruneteau would finally score during the sixth overtime to win the game for the Wings and end the game at 2:25 a.m. (Source)
4. Red Wings captain Ted Lindsay was the first player to hoist the Stanley Cup over his head for a victory lap, after winning the 1950 Stanley Cup, thus pioneering a tradition that still stands today. (Source)
5. The tradition of hurling octopuses onto the ice during Red Wings games began during the 1952 Stanley Cup playoffs. Two brothers who owned a fish market in Detroit were the first to throw the eight-legged creature onto the ice at Olympia stadium, symbolizing the number of games the Red Wings had to win to capture the Stanley Cup. The tradition has continued ever since, and the Red Wings’ mascot is even an octopus named Al. (Source)
6. The Red Wings were the first NHL team to play an outdoor game, which took place in 1954 outside of a Michigan prison against prison inmates. (Source)
7. Marguerite Norris, the president of the 1954 championship Red Wings, was the first female to have her name inscribed on the Stanley Cup. Since then, 11 other women have joined her on the Cup. (Source)
8. During the 1983 NHL draft, the Red Wings had the fourth pick and had planned to draft Detroit native Pat LaFontaine, but took Steve Yzerman instead when the NY Islanders nabbed LaFontaine first. Yzerman went on to become one of the best Red Wings in history, leading the team to three Stanley Cup championships and scoring 1,755 points over his 22-year career in Detroit. (Source)
9. The Red Wings helped left wing Petr KlÃma defect to the United States from Czechoslovakia in 1985. In a bold and risky move by the Red Wings that was rumored to have been planned for some time, executive VP Jim Lites and assistant coach Nick Polano met KlÃma at an undisclosed location in Germany and helped him gain entry into the United States. (Source)
10. Kris Draper was traded to the Red Wings for $1 in 1993, thus earning him the nickname the "One Dollar Man." Draper went on to become an integral part of the famous "Grind Line," win four Stanley Cup championships, and tally 158 goals and 203 assists over his 1,137 games with Detroit. (Source)
Weigh in now in our Comments section: What are some of your favorite Red Wings fun facts?