When Pavelich went to the Motor City in 1947, he was immediately christened "Blacky" because of his thick head of jet-black hair. His lesser-known moniker was "Sabu," a name taken from a Hollywood star who rode elephants in the movies.
After a short stay in Indianapolis of the AHL, Pavelich settled in for a ten-year NHL career on the Wings checking line. Usually on the ice with Tony Leswick and Glen Skov, it was Pavelich's job to shadow many of the greats of his day: Rocket Richard, Bill Mosienko, Ted Kennedy, Milt Schmidt, and the Bentley brothers.
While Gordie Howe, Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay took care of the offense, it was up to Pavelich and his crew to be sure the Wings twine remained relatively "unbulged". During his decade in Detroit, the Wings won four Stanley Cups.
In 1957, Pavelich's close buddy and business partner, Ted Lindsay, was banished to Chicago as retribution for his union activities. Upon his departure, he stated that Pavelich would continue to look after their business interests. The revelation that the two Wings had developed prospects outside of hockey was frowned upon, especially by Jack Adams. Fearing an extended stay in the minors, Pavelich decided to retire while he was on top in order to take his enterprise to the next level. That he did, leaving the NHL at the close of the 1956-57 season.
Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame