A consummate team player whose skill and affability marked a 24-year NHL career.
Alex Delvecchio was born in Fort Williams, Ontario, to Italian immigrants. He went on to spend 24 years in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings. In 13 of those years, he scored 20+ goals, contributing to his career total of 456 goals and 825 assists, plus 35 goals and 69 assists in playoffs.
After first joining the Red Wings in 1950, Delvecchio was sent to the minors for “seasoning.” He rejoined the team a year later and stayed. Although he was often overshadowed by teammates, Delvecchio was an incredibly valuable player with a reputation as a gentleman and team player. He also earned the nickname “Fats,” not due to his waistline but because of his round, jovial face and easy smile.
Delvecchio was an All-Star center in the 1952-53 season and an All-Star wing in 1958-59. His clean playing and attitude on and off the ice was rewarded three times with the Lady Byng Trophy – in 1959, 1966, and 1969 – and he collected a mere 383 penalty minutes over the course of his career. (He never collected more than 37 in a season.)
Following his retirement as a player in 1973, Delvecchio served two stints as Detroit’s head coach and then as General Manager, until leaving hockey in 1977. He was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame that same year and inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1982.