Monday, July 16, 2007

Former Detroit coach Skinner passes

Jimmy Skinner, who served with the Detroit Red Wings for 42 seasons and coached the star-laden Wings to the Stanley Cup in 1955, died last Wednesday at his home in Windsor, Ontario. He was 90.

Skinner is credited with starting the practice of kissing the Stanley Cup, which he did in the spring of 1955.

“He had never seen the Cup before,” said his son, Jim Skinner, Jr. “He just leaned over and kissed it. He did it naturally. Now everybody does it.”

The 1955 Red Wings were one of the strongest clubs in NHL history, with stars like Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Terry Sawchuk, Alex Delvecchio and Red Kelly in their lineup. It was the fourth Cup winner in six seasons for the Wings, who didn’t win another until 1997.

Skinner’s coaching style relied heavily on veteran players.

“He treated everyone with dignity, like a family really,” recalled defenseman Marcel Pronovost, himself a member of the 1955 team, and now a scout for the New Jersey Devils.

Illness cut short Skinner’s coaching career, and he retired from coaching in 1958 with a record of 123 wins, 78 losses and 46 ties. He served the Wings in a variety of front office positions, including head scout, farm director and director of player personnel. He was general manager of the Red Wings from 1980-1982.

Skinner was born on Jan. 12, 1917, in Selkirk, Manitoba.

Article courtesy, photo courtesy Detroit Red Wings Forever


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