25 years later: New Red Wings exhibit at Detroit Historical Museum honors ‘97 season

Museum admission is free

DETROIT – The Detroit Historical Museum is now giving hockey fans an inside look at the 1997 Red Wings’ historic season with all the sights and sounds of being back on the ice.

Lining the walls at the Detroit Historical Museum, an entire room devoted to the team that made Hockeytown... Hockeytown again 25 years ago.

“What’s really memorable and interesting was just the way people interacted with the team and the way the Red Wings got into everyday life around the city,” said museum curator Jeremy Dimick. “We read accounts in the newspaper of a city council meeting in Warren that got interrupted so somebody could update the score of a red wings playoff game.”

The 1997 Red Wings and their incredible Stanley Cup winning season ending a 42-year drought.

The exhibit is filled with donations, some from the Ilitch corporate archives, some from more seasoned collectors, but most from average fans who had held onto the memories for themselves until the museum asked to share them.

“We identified all these people and brought all their stuff in, and all of a sudden, we can cover the entire team. It’s just really cool to see the passion for this team even 25 years after the fact,” said Dimick.

And that passion is alive and well. Each jersey, action figure, and car flags tell a story of a fan’s devotion. But it’s more than that; hockey fans can touch the boards from the Joe Louis Arena and run their fingers along every knick, scrape and scuff that tells the story of their team.

“The boards themselves went in in 79 when the arena opened, and they kind of bore witness to everything that was there,” said Dimick.

The exhibit is a tour displaying the blow-by-blow of the 1996-1997 season, beginning in the draft from showcasing the scorecard from Steve Yzerman’s first game and goal.

While the exhibit is about the iconic team, it’s more than that. It’s unique snapshot, and each item on display transports moments on and off the ice.

The exhibit runs through mid-February and every Sunday in December. The museum has free admission.


About the Authors:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital News Editor and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.