Mike Ilitch did a lot of good, not only for the Detroit Red Wings, but for the city of Detroit in general. His passing was a sad day in this once capital of industry. Yet, there’s one thing that hardcore Red Wings fans hold against Ilitch and that’s the refusal to honour the retired number 6 of Larry Aurie.
Aurie played with the Wings from 1927-28 to 1938-39. He was team captain for the 1932-33 season, the first year the franchise was known as the Red Wings, and helped the team to the Stanley Cup finals on three occasions. Larry tied for the National Hockey League goal scoring lead in 1936-37 with Nels Stewart.
Larry’s jersey number was retired by James Norris after the 1937-38 season. It was the first number to ever be retired by Detroit but never hung from the rafters. The excuse for not honouring Aurie in Joe Louis Arena is that he was never inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Larry Aurie – Junior and Minor Pro
In 1922-23, Larry Aurie played junior hockey with the St. Michael’s Majors, scoring 16 goals in seven games. His start in pro hockey came in 1926-27 with the London Panthers of the CPHL. He soon after jumped to the NHL and the Detroit Cougars.
Aurie returned to the minors near the end of his career. He was player/head coach with the Pittsburgh Hornets in the IAHL/AHL from 1938-39 to 1940-41. In 1938-39, despite the dual role, Larry had a good enough season to be named a Second Team All-Star.
The Following season, he guided the Hornets to the Calder Cup finals against the Providence Reds. Unfortunately, the Reds swept Pittsburgh in the best of five series. Larry remained as head coach of the Hornets after 1940-41 but appeared in just one more game with the club, during the 1943-44 season.
Larry Aurie – NHL
Between 1927-28 and 1938-39, Larry Aurie played 489 regular season games in the National Hockey League. Over that time, he scored 148 and assisted on 129 for 277 points. His entire career was spent with Detroit. When he started, the team was named the Cougars. for 1930-31, the name was changed to the Falcons and in 1932-33, the team was renamed the Red Wings.
Three times, Aurie led the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup finals. In 1933-34, Detroit fell to the Chicago Blackhawks. Two years later, Detroit won the title with a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The following year, 1936-37, Detroit won again, this time against the New York Rangers. However, Larry did not play in the post season after breaking a leg during the regular season in a collision with Art Coulter of the Rangers. In all, he played 24 playoff games, adding 14 points.
Often among the NHL’s top scorers, Aurie tied for sixth with 19 assists in 1933-34 with Cooney Weiland and Hooley Smith. The following year, he moved up to third place with 29 assists and finished third in overall scoring with 46 points, behind just Charlie Conacher and Syd Howe.
In 1935-36, he showed another side of his offensive abilities, showing up tied for eighth on the goal scoring leader board with 16. He equaled Mush Marsh and Syd Howe.
Aurie’s top offensive season came in 1936-37 when he tied Nels Stewart for the goal scoring lead with 23 goals. His 20 assists tied Babe Siebert for eighth in the NHL. His 43 points were good for fourth overall. That year, Larry got his only All-Star team nod, selected for right wing on the First All-Star Team.
Larry Aurie was captain of the Detroit Red Wings for the 1932-33 NHL season. He replaced Carson Cooper and was replaced by Herbie Lewis. As mentioned, his number 6 was retired by James Norris and the Red Wings after the 1937-38 season. The jersey appeared in the lobby of the Olympia Arena but was never displayed at Joe Louis Arena.
Larry Aurie – Coaching
Larry Aurie was head coach of the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets from 1938-39 to 1943-44, the first three years as player/coach. The team reached the finals in 1939-40 before being swept by the Providence Reds.
In 1950-51, Aurie took over coaching duties with the Oshawa Generals. At the time, the team starred Alex Delvecchio, Lou Jankowski and Harry Sinden. Oshawa finished fifth in the ten team league with exactly a .500 winning percentage.
Both Delvecchio and Jankowski were all-stars that year. The Generals met with the Windsor Spitfires in the opening round of the playoffs. Glenn Hall was in the nets for Windsor and Oshawa came up short.
Larry Aurie – Hockey Cards
Larry Aurie was featured on four cards in the free-for-all 1933-34 hockey card season, all can be considered his rookie card. The 1933-34 Hamilton Gum V288 number 44 card is unique in that he is shown wearing a Detroit Falcons jersey.
Each of the v129, Ice Kings V357 and Canadian Gum V252 cards from that year show the exact same picture of Aurie. He is shown wearing the, at the time, brand new Detroit Red Wings uniform. The same picture shows up on his 1936-37 O-Pee-Chee V304 hockey card.
Larry Aurie Career Stats
|1932-33||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||45||12||11||23||25|
|1933-34||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||48||16||19||35||36|
|1934-35||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||48||17||29||46||24|
|1935-36||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||44||16||18||34||17|
|1936-37||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||45||23||20||43||20|
|1937-38||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||47||10||9||19||19|
|1938-39||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||1||1||0||1||0|