1920sThe roots of the Red Wings go all the way back to the old Western Hockey League, where the Victoria (British Columbia) Cougars were members until their roster was sold to a group from Detroit on September 25, 1926. The Detroit group had been awarded an NHL franchise on May 15, 1926.
The team began to play as the Detroit Cougars in the fall of 1926 while playing its home games in Windsor, Ontario. Despite the fact that the Victoria Cougars had won the Stanley Cup in 1925 and were Cup finalists in 1926, the Detroit Cougars finished 12-28-4; the NHL's worst record for the 1926-27 season.
Not only did the team struggle on the ice, but it performed poorly on the ledger sheet as well where the Cougars were more than $80,000 in debt.
Help came, the following season, in the form of Jack Adams as the team's coach and general manager. Adams had played in the old Pacific Coast league and in the NHL with the Toronto St. Pats and the Ottawa Senators. Adam's tenure as coach and GM would last until the 1962-63 season, when Sid Abel took over.
The team also moved into the brand new Olympia Stadium for the 1927-28 season. A Detroit and professional hockey landmark, the Olympia would serve as the home for the franchise through the midway point of the 1979-80 season. With Adams at the helm, the team made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history (1928-29). However, they were still among the NHL's have-nots and perpetually close to bankruptcy.