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The Daily: When Red Wings Black Jack Met The Queen

A Royal meeting for a Red Wings Hall of Famer

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Black Jack Stewart, red wings
Red Wings defenseman Black Jack Stewart met Queen Elizabeth prior to an NHL game in October of 1951.

A Detroit Red Wings star in the Queen’s presence. It actually happened. And no, it wasn’t Gordie Howe was who commissioned with a Royal visit.

Queen Elizabeth II will be buried in a Royal ceremony on Monday. In 1951, Her Majesty, while still Princess Elizabeth was attending an NHL exhibition game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks. Prior to the contest, introductions with both team captains – Teeder Kennedy of the Leafs and Black Jack Stewart of the Blackhawks – were taking place.

A year earlier, Stewart was traded to the Blackhawks following a storied career in Detroit. Stewart played a decade for the Red Wings from 1938-50. He missed two seasons while in military service during World War II

Stewart came by his unique nickname following a devastating bodycheck. The player he ended up levelingwas later remarking that it felt like being hit by a blackjack. Stewart won two Stanley Cups with the Red Wings. He was a five-time NHL All-Star and is enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame

Other NHL Royal Meetings

Queen Elizabeth returned to an NHL rink in 2002 to see the Vancouver Canucks play host to the San Jose Sharks. She participated in the ceremonial faceoff between Vancouver’s Markus Naslund and San Jose’s Mike Ricci.

Ricci wasn’t San Jose’s captain. There’s always been speculation that Owen Nolan, Sharks captain at the time, skipped the ceremony. His family hailed from Belfast, center of the troubles that existed between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

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