The Road To Hockeytown
The fascinating memoir of the NHL's reigning turnaround king
One of the most respected executives in the NHL, Jim Devellano's
phenomenal record of 13 championship rings (including three Stanley Cups
for the New York Islanders and 4 for the Detroit Red Wings) is
also the story of shrewd trades and brave, if not unorthodox, business
decisions. His new memoir takes readers behind the scenes into the
offices of a general manager and provides an inside look at what players
and coaches are really like; how decisions are made on draft day; and
how deals and trades are done. He also sheds light on the miraculous
turnaround of the Detroit Red Wings and how such decisions as recruiting
from behind the Iron Curtain have left their indelible mark on the game.
Jim Devellano (Detroit, MI, and Sarasota, FL) is the Senior VP of the
Detroit Red Wings. Roger Lajoie (Toronto, ON) is the well-known host of
The FAN 590 and a North American correspondent for the Reuters News
James "Jimmy" Devellano (born January 18, 1943 in Toronto,
currently serves as the senior vice-president of the Detroit
Red Wings National
Hockey League (NHL) team and vice-president of the Detroit
League Baseball team.
In the 1960s, Devellano was employed by the Canadian
government in an administrative capacity. During his frequent
business trips, Devellano watched as many major junior hockey games as
he could, and eventually found a job with the St.
Louis Blues, working on spec as an amateur scout.
He went on to work for the New
York Islanders and the Detroit
Red Wings. He won three Stanley Cups with the Islanders, two as
scout 1980, 1981 and one as Assistant General Manager/Director of
Scouting 1982. He left the Islanders to join the Detroit Red Wings as general
manager and helped assemble the team that won four Stanley Cups
(1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008), serving as the Wings' Senior Vice
President during that time. He also has a Major League Baseball American
League championship ring with the Detroit
Tigers in 2006 as Senior Vice President. Devellano's election to The
Hockey Hall of Fame was announced on June 22, 2010.
Strange Misadventures of the Stanley Cup
What single object is the world's most famous champagne cup, potato chip dish and dog-food bowl, while doubling on occasion as a baptismal font?
It's the Stanley Cup.
The Stanley Cup has partied longer and harder than Ozzy Osbourne over its 109-year reign as hockey's Holy Grail. In a tradition unique in professional sports, every player on the championship team gets at least 24 hours to do virtually whatever he wishes with old Stan.
The cup has visited the White House and Lenin's tomb. It's also visited churches, bars, and strip clubs. It's been to the top of mountains and the bottoms of pools. It's been strapped to a Harley, a dog sled, and a golf cart. And along the way, it's been kissed, hugged, and admired by countless millions. Many, undoubtedly, are not hockey fans. They wait on line for more than an hour simply to enjoy a moment in awe of Stanley's grandeur.
This is what the best in the NHL fight for each year: a 35-pound, 3-foot-high polished silver trophy with five removable rings at the base. Each one lists 13 teams and their players, which remain on the cup for 64 years. The older rings are retired and on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
The Stanley Cup in Mario Lemieux's Swimming Pool
Celebrates the 2008-2009 7th Game 1 Goal Win Over Detroit
Here To See Stanley Swim
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Here For Rogs Rant Continuation
Congratulations To Jimmy For Winning 6+1 Stanley Cups
And Hear Jimmy On You Tube
Sr. VP. & Alternate Governor
4 Detroit NHL
And 3 NY Islanders NHL Championship
Entering his 27th season with the Detroit Red Wings
and his 42st overall in the National Hockey League, Jim Devellano
continues to be a driving force behind Detroit’s success as well as a
strong influence in the evolution and improvement of the league itself.
Devellano can be credited with carefully building Detroit’s 1997, 1998
and 2002 Stanley Cup Championship teams through the Entry Draft, savvy
trades and aggressive free agent acquisitions.
He choreographed the Red
Wings' steady rise from one of the NHL’s weakest teams into the
powerful club that has reached the Stanley Cup finals four times and
lifted the coveted Cup in triumph three times, giving Devellano his
fourth, fifth and sixth Stanley Cup rings (three with New York Islanders
and three with Detroit).
Devellano was the first
individual hired by owners Mike and Marian Ilitch after purchasing the
Red Wings in June, 1982. He was the team’s general manager for eight
seasons before ascending to his current position of senior vice
president on July 13, 1990. An excellent judge of talent
throughout his 41 years in the NHL, Devellano believes that building a
solid foundation begins with a capable scouting staff and strong Entry
Draft selections. Evidence of the wisdom in this plan can be seen in
Devellano’s first draft as Red Wings general manager when he tabbed
future Hall-of-Famer Steve Yzerman in the 1983 Entry Draft to be the
cornerstone of the franchise.
Devellano was one of the
first NHL general managers to assemble a strong European scouting staff
back in 1984. A progressive move that has produced several standouts
including Russians Sergei Fedorov, Slava Kozlov, Vladimir Konstantinov
and Pavel Datsyuk. Europeans such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom,
Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall were discovered by Devellano’s
Swedish scouting staff.
Through the course of
Devellano’s tenure with the Red Wings, Detroit has participated in
eight conference finals (1987, ‘88, ‘95, ‘96, ‘97, ‘98, ’02,
‘07,08) and five Stanley Cup Finals (1995, ‘97, ‘98 ‘02, 08), collected
five Presidents’ Trophies (1995, ‘96, ‘02, ’04, 06’), seven
regular-season Western Conference championships (1994, ‘95, ‘96,
‘02, ’04, ’06, ‘07) and 13 division championships (1988, ‘89,
‘92, ‘94, ‘95, ‘96, ‘99, ‘01, ‘02, ‘03, ’04, 06’,
Devellano is the proud
13 14 championship rings. His impressive collection includes: six
Stanley Cups (N.Y. Islanders 1980, '81, '82 and Detroit '97, '98
'02 and 08), Three Calder Cup championships in the American Hockey League with
Adirondack (1986, 1989 and 1992), Two Adams Cup
championships in the Central Hockey League (Fort Worth 1978 and
Indianapolis '82), and one Riley Cup title in the East Coast Hockey
League (Toledo 1994). Devellano most recently added a Major League
Baseball American League Championship to his credentials with the
Detroit Tigers in 2006.
tenure as head of hockey operations for the Red Wings is second only to
the 35 years served by the late Jack Adams, the legendary GM credited
with building the Red Wings' dynasty of the 1950’s. In addition to his
duties as senior vice president, Devellano serves as the team’s
alternate on the NHL’s Board of Governors.
His litany of
accomplishments while in Detroit earned him induction into the Michigan
Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
He has been instrumental
in many historical decisions in the National Hockey League. In 1980, it
was Devellano who campaigned to have the annual NHL Entry Draft moved
from a hotel ballroom into various NHL arenas, transfoming the draft
into a spectacular event where fans can now witness what occurs with
each and every team as the draft takes place. Devellano was also
responsilbe for bringing the Entry Draft to the United States for the
very first time on June 13, 1987 at Joe Louis Arena. More recently, it
was at Devellano’s suggestion that the NHL instituted a new overtime
format beginning with the 1999-2000 season that includes skating four
aside as well as one point for each team following a regulation overtime
and an additional point if a team is victorious in overtime.
Having served as a
teacher and mentor to numerous front office personnel over the years,
Devellano’s influence has reached several NHL clubs. Currently there
are four NHL general managers who have succeeded under Devellano’s
tutelage - Detroit General Manager Ken Holland, Darcy Reiger of the
Buffalo Sabres, Don Waddell of the Atlanta Thrashers and Scott Howson of
the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Devellano, 64, did not
play professional hockey, but rose through the ranks in various
capacities in his native Toronto. Joining former Red Wings coach Scotty
Bowman, he became a scout with the St. Louis Blues in 1967 when the NHL
expanded from six to 12 teams. Also, it was Devellano’s strong
recommendation to owner Mike Ilitch that led to Scotty Bowman’s hiring
by the Wings.
Joining the New York
Islanders as a scout when that club was founded in 1972, Devellano’s
scouting skills helped build a team that won four consecutive Stanley
Cup titles (1980-83). It was Devellano who highly recommend that the
Islanders GM, Bill Torrey, hire Al Arbour to coach the club. Arbour was
captain of the St. Louis Blues when Devellano scouted for that
franchise. The recommendation turned out better than expected as Arbour
guided the Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cup Championships. In
1979-80, he became general manager of the Islanders’ Indianapolis (CHL)
farm club and was named Minor League Executive of the Year by The Hockey
News. He returned to New York in 1981 as the Islanders’ assistant
On a personal level in
2003, Devellano set up two private foundations supporting mostly
children’s charities in the United States and Canada.
In June of 2001 Mike
Ilitch named Devellano senior vice president of the Tigers. Devellano
resides in Detroit and Sarasota, Florida.