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Detroit Red Wings

How The Falcons Became The Red Wings 89 Years Ago Today



logo, Detroit Red Wings
On October 5, 1932, Detroit's NHL team changed its nickname from Falcons to Red Wings and a new era of hockey was born.

Detroit’s NHL team was born as the Cougars and became the Falcons but it wasn’t until the team was christened the Red Wings that the franchise truly arrived in the NHL.

It was on October 5, 1932 that the announcement was made that henceforth, Detroit’s NHL team would be known as the Red Wings.

“Detroit Falcons became the Detroit Red Wings in the National Hockey League and John Ross Roach of New York Rangers became the regular goaltender for the Motor City troupe as the new hockey interests started housecleaning and remodeling for the 1932-33 season,” Windsor’s Border Cities Star reported of the October 5, decision to rename the team.

Red Wings Name Brought Instant Change Of Fortune

The addition of Roach was viewed as a bigger deal and rightly so. He was an all-star caliber netminder with a Stanley Cup title on his resume. Detroit paid a pricely sum of $11,000 to acquire his services, which in of itself was news.

Grain millionaire James Norris, who’d purchased Detroit’s NHL club, was the who ponied up the cash for Roach. It was in sharp contrast to the cash-strapped previous ownership group. Red Wings coach-GM Jack Adams once quipped that money was so tight, if Montreal Canadiens superstar Howie Morenz were offered to him for $1.98, he couldn’t afford to make the deal.

So hard up for funds was the team that they were forced to sell the contract of spare goalie Samuel “Porky” Levine to the minor-league club in Seattle. With no funds available to sign another practice netminder, once was fashioned out of plywood and goalie gear was tacked to it. It would be pushed into one of the nets at Olympia Stadium during practice sessions. The players dubbed it Plywood Porky.

Detroit never roared as the Cougars or soared as the Falcons. The team made the playoffs twice during those first six seasons but never won a postseason game.

With Norris’ money backing them, the fortunes of the newly-christened Red Wings were about to make a 180-degree turn. The team finally won a playoff series in 1932-33. The Red Wings reached the Stanley Cup final the following season. Between 1934-56, the Red Wings played in 14 Cup final series and won the Stanley Cup seven times.

Red Wings Was Originally Mocked As A Nickname

The Red Wings nickname and logo have come to be storied in hockey history. However, the arrival of the new handle was unceremoniously mocked in the media.

“Officials of the Detroit club announced several weeks ago of their intention to seek a new moniker for the National League entry. So Red Wings is the selection, chosen it seems because the major leaguers will be decked out in all-red uniforms this coming winter.

“One can hardly turn to one’s neighbor and whisper “Isn’t it romantic?” in referring to the new label of the former Cougars and former Falcons of Detroit.”

The Winged Wheelers

In point of fact, Norris had played hockey for the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association. They were winners of the first Stanley Cup in 1893. Fans took to calling the team the Winged Wheelers, due to their winged wheel logo.

Norris thought a winged wheel was the perfect representation for a hockey team in the Motor City.