The Detroit Red Wings are Detroit’s professional ice hockey team. The team plays for the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference and are one of the six original teams of the league. They currently play their home games out of Little Caesars Arena, which they share with the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. In fact, the team moved to their new home after playing for 52 years at Olympia Stadium.
The team was founded in 1926 and were originally known as the Detroit Cougars until 1930. From 1930-32, the team was then called the Detroit Falcons. After the 1931-32 season, the team changed their name to the Red Wings, which they kept to this very day.
As of 2021, the Red Wings are the US-based NHL franchise with the most Stanley Cup championships under their belts and are third overall in the total Stanley Cup championships, behind only the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Because of their success and popularity, The Red Wings have cemented Hockey’s place in Detroits culture to the point that some sports commentators call Detroit “Hockeytown”. The name stuck when the nickname was trademarked and owned by the franchise since 1996.
The team has a long standing history of playoff appearances with very few dry spots on their record. For example, between the 1931-32 and 1965-66 seasons, the Red Wings missed the playoffs only four times. But one of their dry spots came between the 1966-67 and 1982-83 seasons where the Red Wings only made the playoffs two times. However, they hit their strides back from 1983-84 all the way to the 2015-2016 season where they made the playoffs 30 times out of 32 seasons. This includes a 25-straight record that stretched from the 1990-91 season to the 2015-16 season, counting the cancelled 2004-05 season. This was the longest active streak of postseason appearances in all of North American professional sports and is tied for the third-longest streak in NHL history.
Hockey Fan Traditions
The heart of every sports team has to be its fans and the traditions that Red Wings fans bring to home games is more than worth experiencing. These include:
Legend of the Octopus
During the Red Wings time at their old arena, it became a tradition for an octopus to be thrown onto the ice for good luck. The 8 tentacles of the octopus were symbolic of the 8 wins required to win the Stanley Cup at the time.
During the last few minutes of home games where the Red Wings are winning, especially during the playoffs or towards the end of the regular season, fans were known to start singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”. The song has since been played over the PA system and continues until the crowd sings the words “Born and raised in South Detroit” when the song is muted.
About Little Caesars Arena
The hallmark of multi-purpose arenas like Little Caesars Arena is that it can be rearranged to suit a variety of venues. So the maxing seating capacity changes depending on what event is coming up.
Even at its largest capacity, tickets start selling fast. But here’s what you can expect with the most common arrangements.
Ice hockey: 19,515
Rumors about the arena first surfaced in May 2012 when it was reported that the Red Wings hired HKS, Inc. and NBBJ to design a new arena for the team, to replace Joe Louis Arena. The new arena would be formally owned by the city’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the land would be leased to Olympia Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Red Wing’s parent company, Ilitch Holdings, rent free for a long term.
Olympia Entertainment officially announced the plans to develop an entirely new district in downtown Detroit in December 2012, with the new arena being the flagship element of it.
The goal of the new district and the arena that would be built around it, was to stimulate Detroit’s economy. It was emphasized that it would create 1,000 new jobs in the city, and 8,300 new jobs for its construction. In fact, Olympia was committed to having over half of the construction jobs be filled by Detroit residents. Additionally, two Michigan-based conractros would be among those working on the arena and 80% of the materials used was sourced from Michigan-based companies whenever possible.
The Detroit Red Wings also proudly acknowledge affiliation with several Hockey Hall of Fame inductees. This includes 65 former players and 12 builders of the sport who have been recognized. Several Red Wings broadcasters were also recognized for their contributions to the sport and were awarded the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame. In fact, the first Red Wings broadcaster to be awarded the honor was Budd Lynch.