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Detroit Red Wings

Strong Seattle Connection to Red Wings Birth



Seattle - Red Wings
Four members of Seattle's 1916-17 Cup winner would play for the original Detroit Cougars, NHL forerunners to the Red Wings.

The Detroit Red Wings make their annual visit to Seattle to face the Kraken on Monday. It’s the only NHL city where they’ve never won a game.

The Red Wings were the first American-based team to win consecutive Stanley Cups with victories in 1935-36 and 1936-37. However, what’s not as well known in U.S. hockey history is that Seattle was the first American city to win a Stanley Cup.

The Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association beat the original Newsy Lalonde and the Montreal Canadiens in the 1916-17 Stanley Cup final. That was the season prior to the birth of the NHL. In that final series, the Canadiens qualified as champions of the National Hockey Association, forerunner to the NHL.

Here’s another twist that might also not be as well-known even by some of the most ardent of Red Wings supporters. Several players from that Seattle Cup-winning squad would form the nucleus of Detroit’s first NHL team in 1926-27.

Before Red Wings They Were Cougars

Inaugurated as the Detroit Cougars that season, many of the players on the Detroit roster were rescues from the defunct Western Hockey League. They would include four members of that Seattle Cup-winning club.

Goaltender Hap Holmes would post the first win and shutout in franchise history. The Hockey Hall of Famer was a four-time Cup winner – with Seattle, Victoria (1924-25) and twice in Toronto (1913-14, 1917-18). Today, the top goaltenders in the AHL receive the Hap Holmes Memorial Award.

Jack Walker was another member of that Seattle squad who’d earn enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. He’d also be an original NHLer with Detroit. Were he in today’s game, Walker would be an annual contender for the Selke Trophy. Walker was capable of playing all three forward positions. He was an outstanding defensive performer, reknowned in hockey circles for his hook check – an uncanny knack for hooking the puck off an opposition player’s blade.

Registering a hat-trick for Seattle in Game 2 of the 1917 Cup final series, Frank Foyston would finish third on the 1926-27 Cougars with 10 goals. He played two NHL seasons in Detroit.

The fourth member of this Seattle-Detroit quartet owns a unique place in NHL history. While current Red Wings defenseman Jeff Petry is the son of ex-MLB pitcher Dan Petry, left-winger Jim Riley was an MLB player. Along with playing for Seattle and with Detroit and Chicago in the NHL, Riley saw stints in the big leagues of baseball with the Washington Senators and St. Louis Browns. He was an MLB teammate of Hall of Famers Walter Johnson and George Sisler.