Detroit -- In the spirit of the season, Jimmy Devellano gave a big gift to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Devellano, 72, senior vice-president for the Red Wings and Tigers, has donated all seven of his Stanley Cup championship rings -- four won with the Red Wings (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008) and three with the Islanders (1980, 1981, 1982) -- to the Hall of Fame.
“I have no heirs,” said Devellano, in explaining why he decided to donate the rings. “So I was wondering what was going to happen to them (the rings) if something were to happen to me. I don’t plan on anything happening to me for a long time, but you begin to wonder.
“This seemed like the sensible thing to do. Hopefully it brings some pleasure for people visiting the Hall of Fame and seeing the rings there.
“I have 14 rings (including his others won in pro sports). As I get older, what I am going to do with them?”
Devellano was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010. Interestingly, he did keep the Hall of Fame ring that he received upon his induction.
“I kept that one, because it was from all those other rings that I got the Hall of Fame ring,” Devellano said. “I got this one because of all the others. That was enough for me.”
Devellano joined the Red Wings in June of 1982, just after Mike Ilitch purchased the team, and completely reversed the fortunes of the struggling organization with an incredible run of drafting success.
Credited with being one of the first front-office executives to assemble a deep European scouting base, Devellano drafted the likes of Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom and Vladimir Konstaninov, developing a foundation for many years of Red Wings success.
He also drafted Steve Yzerman with the fourth overall pick in 1983, and Yzerman went on to become one of the greatest players in franchise history.
Devellano served as Red Wings GM from 1982-90 and from 1994-97.
Devellano continues to be involved in Red Wings front-office matters, and watches numerous NHL games in Florida, Toronto and Detroit, depending where he is living at the time.
Devellano is pleased with where the Red Wings are at this point of the NHL season. The Wings have 38 points and are tied for second place in the Atlantic Division.
“Very pleased,” Devellano said. “We’ve played well, we’ve gotten gotten very good goaltending from both (Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek), and Dylan Larkin is the best teenager to have played for us in over 30 years.”