From the Publisher
"Although Jimmy never played professional hockey himself, he was
born with an intense love for the game and has devoted his life to
hockey. He lives and breathes the game. Hockey is better off
because of Jimmy Devellano."
-From the Foreword by Mike and Marian Ilitch, Owners, Detroit
"Though he has never scored a goal, blocked a shot or thrown a
body check, Jim Devellano contributed to seven Stanley Cup
championships over three separate decades. An accomplishment of
that magnitude is testament to his foresight, his insight and his
-Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner
"He is my mentor. He gave me my first opportunity to get into
the business. When he came to Detroit, one of the things he talked
about was he was never going to trade a draft pick. He''s a
-Ken Holland, General Manager, Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red
"He had what I would consider an outstanding career. He started
from the very, very bottom and has worked his way up to, I would
say, the top echelon in the league. I made him look so good, Mike
Ilitch called me and stole him to Detroit."
-Bill Torrey, Former General Manager, New York
"He is a truly respected hockey man who deserves all accolades
that have been presented to him. However, where he has helped me
the most is in understanding the sports environment in the city of
Detroit. Jimmy spent countless hours advising me on this sports
landscape upon my arrival in Michigan."
-Dave Dombrowski, President & General Manager, Detroit
"For more than the past 40 years Jim Devellano has had his hands
on the hockey pulse. His remarkable accomplishments make him a
Hockey Icon. Congratulations."
-Scotty Bowman, Consultant, Detroit Red Wings
From the Jacket
He's known simply as Jimmy D.
He never played or coached, but Jim Devellano has lived his life
in hockey and is one of the most respected executives in the game.
He is the owner of 14 championship rings, seven of which are for
Stanley Cup wins-three with the New York Islanders and four with
the Detroit Red Wings-and he has been instrumental in building the
teams that won them.
From his humble beginnings in the working-class neighborhood of
Cabbagetown in Toronto of the 1940s, to the years of glory and
parades in Hockeytown, Jimmy D. has seen it all along the way.
The Road to Hockeytown gives a rare glimpse inside the
world of hockey from an unusual perspective-through the eyes of one
of the game's greatest executives.
This candid, personal account of Jim Devellano's life and his
more than 40 incredible years in the game of hockey gives an
insider's insight into the business and personalities of the game
and a behind-the-scenes look at what the players and coaches are
really like; how they are assessed, hired, and fired; how decisions
are made on draft day; and how deals and trades really get
Since he broke into the NHL in 1967 as a volunteer scout with
the St. Louis Blues, he's seen the league expand from six teams to
thirty, and been at the forefront of the game's development. He was
instrumental in hiring talented coaches such as Al Arbour with the
New York Islanders and Scotty Bowman in Detroit, and in assembling
one of the very first strong European scouting staffs. He was at
the center of the wheeling and dealing that brought a crop of
talented Russians like Sergei Fedorov, Slava Kozlov, and Vladimir
Konstantinov from behind the Iron Curtain to the NHL. And, as a
minority owner of Maple Leaf Gardens stock, was caught in the
middle of the very public power struggle for the Gardens after
Harold Ballard's death.
On his watch with three different teams, he's brought an
all-star lineup of players into the NHL, including Denis Potvin,
Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies, Bob Probert, Nicklas
Lidstrom, Kelly Hrudey, Vladimir Konstantinov, Sergei Fedorov,
Chris Osgood, and Steve Yzerman (his very first draft pick as GM!).
The first person hired by Mike and Marian Ilitch in 1982, he's seen
the Red Wings go from the basement of the NHL to the pride of
Detroit and been a key part of that amazing turnaround.
Jimmy D. has left his indelible mark on the game of hockey
everywhere he has gone, from Cabbagetown to Hockeytown. As told to
veteran journalist and broadcaster Roger Lajoie, The Road to
Hockeytown is a fascinating memoir of a life lived in
About the Author
is Senior Vice President and
Alternate Governor of the Detroit Red Wings. The first person hired
by Mike and Marian Ilitch after they purchased the struggling Red
Wings in 1982, Devellano built the team into a four-time Stanley
Cup winning franchise as General Manager and then Senior Vice
President in charge of hockey operations. After over 25 seasons
with the Red Wings and more than 40 years in the National Hockey
League, Jimmy D. is one of the most accomplished and respected
executives in the NHL. He is the proud owner of 14 championship
rings: seven Stanley Cup rings (three with the New York Islanders
and four with Detroit), three Calder Cup rings (AHL), two Adams Cup
rings (CHL), one Riley Cup ring (ECHL), and one American League
championship ring with the Detroit Tigers of major league baseball
for whom he also serves as Senior Vice-President. Devellano
continues to be a driving force behind the Red Wings' success as
well as a strong influence in the evolution and improvement of the
league itself, campaigning for opening up the NHL draft to the
public in NHL arenas, and for instituting the four-on-four overtime
format. Before joining the Red Wings, Devellano helped build the
three-time Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders team as a scout
and Assistant General Manager. He also served as a scout with the
St. Louis Blues and as General Manager of the Islanders'
Indianapolis farm club (CHL), where he was named Minor League
Executive of the Year by The Hockey News
. Devellano has
set up two private foundations supporting mainly children's
charities in the United States and Canada. He resides in Detroit,
Michigan, Toronto, Ontario, and Sarasota, Florida.
Roger Lajoie is one of the busiest guys in
sports media, operating Triumph Sports Communications (www.rogerlajoie.com). He is
best known to Toronto sports fans as a sports talk show host on The
FAN 590. As a North American sports correspondent for the Reuters
News Agency, Roger has covered events such as the Stanley Cup
final, the World Series, the NBA finals, the NCAA Final Four, and
MLB's All-Star Game. Roger is seen during junior hockey season on
Rogers TV's coverage of the Oshawa Generals and Mississauga St.
Michael's Majors and has done junior broadcast work on Rogers
Sportsnet. He covers the OHL for the Toronto Sun and teaches at the
College of Sports Media in downtown Toronto. Roger lives with his
wife Rita and family in Courtice, Ontario.
About the Book
The fascinating memoir of the NHL's reigning turnaround king
One of the most respected executives in the NHL, Jim Devellano's
phenomenal record of 13 championship rings (including three Stanley
Cups for both the New York Islanders and the Detroit Red Wings) is
also the story of shrewd trades and brave, if not unorthodox,
business decisions. His new memoir takes readers behind the scenes
into the offices of a general manager and provides an inside look
at what players and coaches are really like; how decisions are made
on draft day; and how deals and trades are done. He also sheds
light on the miraculous turnaround of the Detroit Red Wings and how
such decisions as recruiting from behind the Iron Curtain have left
their indelible mark on the game.
Jim Devellano (Detroit, MI, and Sarasota, FL) is the Senior VP
of the Detroit Red Wings. Roger Lajoie (Toronto, ON) is the
well-known host of The FAN 590 and a North American correspondent
for the Reuters News Agency.