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Marguerite Norris: first woman named on the Stanley Cup

The Story


As the first female chief executive in the history of the National Hockey League and the first woman to have her name engraved on the Stanley Cup, Marguerite Norris was an accomplished team president for the Detroit Red Wings. In each of her three seasons with the team, from 1952 to 1955, she led the Wings to three first-place finishes and two championships, increasing team profits and recognizing the future importance of TV revenue along the way. Forty years later, as explained in this 1994 CBC Radio profile, Norris goes unrecognized by the Hockey Hall of Fame. The CBC's Alison Griffiths explains why the exclusion of Marguerite Norris from the HHOF is a mistake. Marcel Pronovost, Red Kelly and Gordie Howe offer testimonials and Norris herself reflects on her time as President of the Red Wings.

Medium: Radio
Broadcast Date: May 21, 1994
Program: The Inside Track
Host: Mary Hynes
Reporter: Alison Griffiths
Guests: Marcel Pronovost, Red Kelly, Gordie Howe, Marguerite Norris
Duration: 9:51
Photo provided by the Detroit Red Wings.

Did You know?


• Marguerite Norris was born into hockey's powerful Norris family in 1927. Her father, James Sr., became owner of the Detroit Falcons in 1932 and changed the team's name to the Red Wings. Over the years the family also had financial interest in the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Rangers.

• James Sr. died in 1952 and his son, James Norris Jr., appointed his half-sister Marguerite, then 24 years old, as Red Wings president 10 days later. Marguerite "had her father's canny deal-making instincts" and "had a clear idea of how the Norris empire worked and how hockey fit into it," according to the book Net Worth: Exploding the Myths of Pro Hockey by David Cruise and Alison Griffiths (the CBC reporter heard in this clip).

• Media coverage of the day focused on Norris's "woman's touch" (on road trips she was known to leave chocolates on the players' pillows). But she personally vetted every decision by coach and GM Jack Adams.

• Although she had an obvious knack for the business of hockey, Marguerite Norris was replaced by her brother James following the 1955 season because her family felt her position was unsuitable for a woman.

• After Norris's victories of the early '50s, it would be more than 30 years before the Red Wings would win another Stanley Cup. Despite her success, she is conspicuously absent from the Hockey Hall of Fame. Brothers James and Bruce gained entry next to their father, James Norris Sr., in 1962 and 1969, respectively.

• Marguerite Norris died on May 12, 1994. She was 67.
 


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