Do you remember when the NHL had a unique tie to their own history by using the names of the sport’s forefathers to represent the conferences, divisions, and trophies? Well, the trophy names have stuck, but the conferences and divisions did not fair as well during an unpopular commissioner’s attempt to simplify the sport to the hockey layperson, mimicking the style of other popular sports leagues. In contrast, there are many NHL players, management, media types, and knowledgeable fans that would like to see the classic conference & division names come back, and obviously don’t need our descriptive terms “dumbed down” geographically. In the meantime, we can try and get the attention of NHL brass with this shirt, as well as celebrate old time hockey, while we hope for change.
The NHL's Norris Division was formed in 1974 as part of the Prince of Wales Conference. The division moved to the Clarence Campbell Conference in 1981. The division existed for 19 seasons until 1993. The division was named in honor of James E. Norris. It is the fore-runner of the NHL's Central Division. Intense rivalries developed between its constituent teams.
James E. Norris (December 10, 1879 – December 4, 1952) was a Canadian-American businessman, operating companies in the grain and cattle industries, and owner of the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League. He also had significant ownership interests in the Chicago Black Hawks and the New York Rangers. He is often referred to as James Norris Sr., to distinguish him from his son, James D. Norris. Norris is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, as are his sons James and Bruce Norris.
As part of his shtick, ESPN's Chris Berman often refers to the National Football League's NFC North division (previously the NFC Central division) as the Norris Division or "NFC Norris" since the two divisions included teams from three of the same cities: Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. The Tampa Bay Area was also briefly represented in both divisions simultaneously, during the 1992-93 NHL Season.
The last team lineup for the Norris Division lasted from 1982-1993. Teams included:
▪ Chicago Blackhawks
▪ Detroit Red Wings
▪ Minnesota North Stars
▪ St. Louis Blues
▪ Tampa Bay Lightning
▪ Toronto Maple Leafs
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