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Abel to Yzerman

A History Lesson

from Stan Fischler at The Hockey News,

James Norris was not fooling around that April morning in 1935.

The 56-year-old Montreal commerce czar had just bought Detroit’s NHL club – then called the Falcons – and phoned Jack ‘Jolly Jawn’ Adams, the coach-manager he had acquired in the franchise purchase. “I’ll give you a year on the job,” Norris warned him. “You’re now on probation.”

Those who knew Norris best translated the “probation” part to mean win a Stanley Cup, pronto, or else. If that wasn’t intimidating enough, there was the new owner’s physical presence: very scary. “I remember the afternoon we met,” said Adams during an interview in 1961 when he was 67. “Norris was bald and he had heavy black eyebrows and a round face. His nose was broad and flat, like somebody had hit it.”

While he was at it, the new boss laid a few other things on the line with his new employee. “We’ll call the team the Wings. In fact, we’ll call it Red Wings. Our emblem will be a winged wheel which ought to sit good with Henry Ford and the car people,” Adams recalled.

The habitually argumentative Adams instantly realized he should never quarrel with his new boss – just do what the millionaire said and quickly go about the business of making him happy. The results were amazing, to say the least. He gifted Norris with back-to-back championships, while earning a second nickname, ‘Trader Jack.’ 

continued

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SYF's avatar

Those who knew Norris best translated the “probation” part to mean win a Stanley Cup, pronto, or else. If that wasn’t intimidating enough, there was the new owner’s physical presence: very scary. “I remember the afternoon we met,” said Adams during an interview in 1961 when he was 67. “Norris was bald and he had heavy black eyebrows and a round face. His nose was broad and flat, like somebody had hit it.”


Well, I’d be scared shitless, too.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 01/15/21 at 04:56 PM ET

Avatar

Interesting take on championship teams

Posted by ThatGuy on 01/15/21 at 06:34 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

At one point , Norris owned both the Wings & Blackhawks in a 6 team league..!??!... I never met Norris or Jack Adams, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t've liked either one…..

Posted by Down River Dan on 01/15/21 at 09:29 PM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com