Is there any city in the USA where hockey is more popular than in Detroit? Definitely, not. Detroit takes the top spot because of the Detroit Red Wings, the most celebrated NHL franchise. The city, called the Hockeytown, is exceptionally proud of its long and glorious hokey history. The team joined the National Hockey League in 1926 as the Detroit Cougars. In 1930, the Cougars renamed the Falcons. In 1926-27, the Detroit club played its first season in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Why in Canada? The majority of players of the new NHL franchise fought for the Canadian club Victoria Cougars. Moreover, the team retained the name “Cougars” in tribute.
The Victorian Cougars were another victim of the untimely dissolved Western Canada Hockey League. By the way, in 1925, the Cougars became the last non-NHL squad to win the Stanley Cup, beating the Montreal Canadiens, the previous Stanley Cup’s champs. Thus, the Victorian Cougars are the only non-NHL team to win the Cup since the world’s premier hockey league’s foundation.
After moving to Detroit, the Cougars retained their name and jersey (white sweater with a wide red transverse stripe), which now had a gothic letter “D” standing for Detroit’s city on the chest.
In 1930, the name of the unfortunate team was changed to the Detroit Falcons. The franchise bore the given name just for two years, until 1932. There were tons of thin red-on-white stripes all over the Falcons’ jerseys. They also featured the new club name and the Detroit Falcons logo printed on the chest. However, the new name didn’t change the team’s fortunes.
In 1932, the franchise was purchased by millionaire James E. Norris (a Canadian grain merchant), who decided to rename his team to the usual for us Red Wings. He also designed the team’s current logo: wings protruding from a wheel.
One can ask why Detroit’s logo contains the wings and the wheel. The iconic winged wheel logo was inspired by the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association’s Winged Wheelers, which James E. Norris had played for in his youth. James E. Norris, who perfectly reminisced about Montreal’s childhood, could not help but pay attention that the winged wheel would be an ultimate logo for the Motor City-based franchise. The Montreal team’s logo featured the wings and the wheel adopted by the Detroit Red Wings. That’s why the bicycle wheel in Montreal Amateur Athletic Association’s logo turned out to be a treadwheel in Detroit’s. Since then, the Detroit Red Wings’ logo has featured the winged wheel as a key symbol. The wings did not stick up like horns but flutter in the wind, accentuating the high-speed qualities of internal combustion engines, far superior to human muscle strength. Since then, the Detroit Red Wings’ logo has not changed pretty much. Montreal Amateur Athletic Association’s Winged Wheelers is the first to win the Stanley Cup (1893). Named his club the “Detroit Red Wings,” James Norris paid tribute to the club that won the first Stanley Cup. Coincidence or not, the new name and logo marked a turnaround in the team’s history. The Detroit Red Wings made the playoffs in their first season. In total, the franchise won 11 Stanley Cup championships.
Al the Octopus is the mascot of the Detroit Red Wings. Al is the only non-costumed mascot of the NHL.
Meaning and History
The Detroit Red Wings are one of the most loved teams in the NHL. Over its 90-year history, the franchise has enjoyed colossal success. The Detroit Red Wings hockey team started as Detroit Cougars, went through the Detroit Falcons era, and only received their current name. All this, of course, was reflected in the emblem. After each re-branding, she received a new visual incarnation. There are five individual graphic signs in the arsenal of the franchise, among which the only one differs. The other four are paired and are modifications of the basic symbols. It all started with the Old English “D.”
The first Detroit Red Wings emblem consisted of an Old English red letter D.
1927 – 1930
However, the second Detroit Red Wings logo of the club, like all logos of that time, was expressive, minimalistic, and somewhat resembled a banner. It consisted of a red rectangle-shaped shield with a white outline and the Old English white “D,” standing for Detroit’s city.
1931 – 1932
The 1931-1932 season entailed a change of the club name to “Detroit Falcons” and a change of the logo to change the club’s ill luck. It was a simple wordmark logo with the word “Detroit” arched over “Falcons.” Both words were given in yellow letters with a thin red outline.
1933 – 1948
Having purchased the franchise in 1932, James Norris changed its brand identity completely. So, the club got a new Detroit Red Wings emblem, which was the iconic red automobile wheel with two red-and-white wings on the right. At that time, Detroit was the automobile capital of America. The club owner wanted to call attention to the industrial development of Detroit in the mid-twentieth century. Since then, the Detroit Red Wings logo has not changed considerably: slight modifications were made to small details and the wheel’s dimensions and wings.
1949 – present
After activating the game in Motor City, club owner James Norris chose a red-winged wheel for the emblem. This option has a double meaning. First, it highlights the city’s importance as a center for the automotive industry. Second, it conveys the team’s close ties to Detroit. As a result, the new symbol has stood the test of time and is still in use today.
The club logo is laconic and does not contain anything superfluous. It looks like a car wheel, in the center of which are wings, like a Pegasus. Although only one wing is visible, the upper part’s high double line indicates that they are paired. The bottom piece of the wheel and feathers are colored red; everything else is white. Nowadays, the winged wheel is extremely famous and recognizable in hockey.
Font and color of the Emblem
The history of the logo’s transformation includes five versions, divided not only by periods but also by design. The earliest versions are based on Old English “D.” At first; the letter was used separately, so the emblem had no clear boundaries. Then the developers complemented it with a double-stroke chevron.
The next logo is transitional. The name of the club was placed in two lines: the top one was arched, the bottom one was straight horizontal. The current version appeared with the light hand of the franchise owner, James Norris, who tried to connect the team with the theme of the automotive industry through symbolism. As a young man, he was associated with the MAAA Winged Wheelers, who wore a winged wheel on their uniform.
The name of the club is written in an individual typeface with extended ends “R” and ornate-figured elements at “D” and “W.” This design was introduced in 1948 and has not changed since then.
The color scheme is stable: the club is faithful to the red and white palette from the very beginning. There is only one shade of red in the emblem – Pantone 186 C, HEX: # C8102E, enhanced with a white background.