The Detroit Red Wings date back to the 1920s when they played in the Western Hockey League as the Victoria Cougars. Looking to build an NHL franchise, a group from Detroit bought the Victoria Cougars’ roster in 1926. The Cougars started playing their home games in Windsor, Ontario, until they moved to Detroit, Michigan, in 1927.
Head coach Jack Adams changed the team’s name to the Detroit Falcons in 1930, but the team name was quickly changed to the Detroit Red Wings after James Norris Sr. bought the franchise in 1932. This came about when Norris and Adams decided upon the now famous logo – a winged wheel – and dubbed the new team the Detroit Red Wings. The change undoubtedly came about due to Norris’ background playing for the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association’s Winged Wheelers. The name seemed to bring some good luck, as the Red Wings quickly turned things around and won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 1936 and 1937. The team has made 64 total appearances in the NHL playoffs and has won 11 Stanley Cup titles, most recently in 2008.
Former Detroit Red Wings players include Hall-of-Famer (“Mr. Hockey” himself) Gordie Howe. Howe saw more ice time in his career than any other player. Holding the record for the longevity, Howe had six decades of playing time, and five of those in NHL. He played for 26 seasons – 1,767 games total – of which 1,687 games were with the Red Wings.
Another Red Wings Hall-of-Famer is the legendary center Steve Yzerman. Yzerman led the league with the longest tenure as captain for the Red Wings, a title he held until his retirement in 2006. After decades without a Stanley Cup win, Yzerman finally led the team to back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998.
Along with Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998, and 2002. He went on to become captain after Yzerman’s retirement and led the team to a Stanley Cup title in 2008. Though the Hall-of-Famer retired in 2012, Lidstrom is still considered to be one of the game’s best ever defensemen.
Iconic Jerseys Throughout the Years
1926: Jerseys in the 1920s are more like sweaters. This jersey is kept simple with a red stripe over a white base, and has a large “D” for Detroit on the front. Currently, as the Cougars, the Red Wings name change is still a few more years into the future, so the new logo isn’t established yet.
1928: Still referred to as the Detroit Cougars, Detroit decides to change its jersey to a more defined look. Though nearly the same as the previous season, the Cougars add “Detroit” in place of the “D” on the sweater. This provides a better branding opportunity with a more recognizable look.
1931: Hoping to bring change to Detroit’s terrible record, head coach Jack Adams changes the name to the Falcons. Apparently, this brings on more red stripes and an even more defined look, with the addition of “Falcons” to the jersey.
1935: The team’s new jerseys, starting in 1932, are the very first iterations of the current look. Decked out in solid red, the newly named Red Wings feature a winged wheel logo.
1966: Jumping forward 31 years, the Red Wing jersey is still the same for the most part. At this point, the Red Wings have won seven Stanley Cup titles since 1935.
1977: Maintaining the iconic look, the home jerseys now include player names on the back.
1991: More than a decade later, the uniform remains similar to previous iterations with a very subtle location change of the striping on the bottom of the jersey.
2007: The Red Wings jersey enters a new era with advancements in jersey materials and technology with the Reebok Edge system.
If you’re a Red Wings fan and enjoy the occasional octopus throw, head on over to Fanatics to grab your Detroit gear – because what’s more important than hockey?