DETROIT – There weren’t many sustained cheers at the new Joe Louis Arena after it first opened in 1980. The Detroit Red Wings, the main tenant, were awful. Scotty Bowman changed all that eventually, but he was directly responsible for the loudest cheer the building absorbed that first year.
“I had the honor of coaching the (Wales Conference) at the NHL All-Star Game that year, because in those days the coach who won the Stanley Cup the year before automatically got to coach one of the all-star teams, and we won in Montreal in 1979,” Bowman told BSN Denver Friday night. “The coaches could fill out the rest of the team after the fan vote, and you had to take one player from every team.”
The player Bowman selected to represent the 1979-80 Hartford Whalers was a guy named Gordie Howe, otherwise known around these parts as “Mr. Hockey.”