Rusty Hughes

Did you know the Detroit Red Wings were originally a transplanted team from Victoria, British Columbia named the Cougars. Detroit kept the Cougars name until 1930 when they changed it to the Falcons. Two years later new owner James Norris renamed the team yet again, this time settling on the Red Wings.

James "Rusty" Hughes was a rough and tumble defenseman with the Detroit Cougars in the 1929-30 season. He played 40 games, but picked up no goals and just one assist. It was his only season in the NHL, though he did play pro hockey until 1936. He was a fan favorite everywhere he went.

He appears to have earned a quiet and innocent 48 penalty minutes in his only NHL season, but in reality he was a bit of a ruffian, messing with biggest and baddest players of the day. In one brawl with Toronto's Red Horner, the NHL's penalty minute king of the dirty thirties, Hughes was ejected from the game after severely cutting Horner's mouth. Hughes also engaged Boston's legendary tough guy Eddie Shore in a stick swinging incident.

Hughes, who worked in gold mines in Northern Canada in the off-season, appears to have stepped into the boxing ring to fight as a professional in 1932, although I do not know much more about his off-ice brawling career other than he weighed in as a heavyweight. He may have also grappled with the world of wrestling.


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