February 8, 1905|
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
December 11, 1952 (aged 47)|
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Height||5 ft 6 in (168 cm)|
|Weight||148 lb (67 kg; 10 st 8 lb)|
Detroit Red Wings
Lawrence Henry "Little Dempsey" Aurie (February 8, 1905 – December 11, 1952) was a Canadian professional ice hockey right winger who played 11 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Detroit Cougars, Detroit Falcons and Detroit Red Wings.
Aurie was considered by owner James Norris as the heart and soul of the Detroit NHL franchise from 1927 through 1938. He was known for his remarkable all-around play, goal-scoring achievements and for being instrumental in the Red Wings' winning their first two Stanley Cup championships in 1936 and 1937. Aurie began his professional hockey career in 1926 with the London Panthers of the Canadian Professional Hockey League (CPHL). The following season, he moved up to the NHL to play with Detroit. His dedication to off-season fitness with his short stature (5 foot 6 inches) earned him the nicknames "Little Dempsey" (for his fistic abilities) and "The Little Rag Man" (for his remarkable and entertaining ability to control or "rag" the puck during penalty killing).
Twice during his career, Aurie led the Wings in assists and in 1933–34, his 35 points topped the club in scoring. He was third in NHL scoring with a career-high 46 points in 1934–35 and fourth overall in 1936–37 with 43 points. He and Herbie Lewis represented the Red Wings at the first ever NHL All Star Game in 1934.
Aurie captained the team in the 1932–33 season, led the league in playoff scoring in 1934 with 10 points in nine games and led the league in goal scoring in 1937 with 23 while earning a first-team selection on the post-season NHL All-Star Team.
Aurie scored his NHL leading 23rd goal on March 11, 1937 in a 4–2 win over the New York Rangers, but later in the game fractured his leg in a collision with Rangers' defenceman Art Coulter, ending his season. Aurie's season leading scoring performance earned him a berth on the NHL First All-Star Team. Unfortunately, this was Aurie's last strong season. The lingering effects of his fractured leg began to affect his play and in 1937–38, he dropped to 10 goals and 19 points and was forced to retire after the season at age 33. After the season, team owner James Norris decided to honor Aurie by retiring his jersey No. 6 - the first Detroit player to have this honor bestowed upon him.
The following season, Aurie was named player-coach of Detroit's AHL farm club, the Pittsburgh Hornets, but returned to the Red Wings for one final game on Jan. 10 - scoring the winning goal against Montreal in a 3–0 shutout at Detroit. Aurie would later go on to head coach the Oshawa Generals.
Aurie's No. 6 jersey was officially retired by Wings owner James Norris after the 1937–38 season (he returned to play one more game for Detroit on Jan. 10, 1939), but was reissued once in the late 1950s to his cousin (not nephew as has been widely reported) Cummy Burton, with the family's blessing. His jersey was displayed in the Olympia Stadium lobby during the 1960s, but then-owner Mike Ilitch refused to display the number at Joe Louis Arena with the other retired numbers, despite several published accounts to support the retirement of the number.
In a 1997 Detroit Free Press article, Wings vice president Jimmy Devellano said the team refused to hang the number because he was not a Hall of Famer, despite the fact that the number was already retired before Ilitch became the owner in 1982.
Aurie died in Detroit's Mount Carmel Mercy Hospital on December 12, 1952, having suffered a stroke while driving his car the previous evening. He was buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, in Southfield, Michigan.
Awards and achievements
- IAHL Second All-Star Team, 1939
- Led NHL in goals in 1936–37
- Named to NHL First All-Star Team, 1936–37
- Played in NHL All-Star Game, 1933–34
- Won the Stanley Cup (with the Detroit Red Wings) 1936, 1937
|1921–22||Sudbury Cub Wolves||NOJHA||4||5||2||7||2||2||2||1||3||0|
|1922–23||Toronto St. Michael's Majors||OHA-Jr.||7||16||4||20||—||3||2||0||2||—|
|1932–33||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||45||12||11||23||25||4||1||0||1||4|
|1933–34||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||48||16||19||35||36||9||3||7||10||2|
|1934–35||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||48||17||29||46||24||—||—||—||—||—|
|1935–36||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||44||16||18||34||17||7||1||2||3||2|
|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||—||—||—||—||—|
Season Team Lge Type GP W L T OTL Pct Result 1938-39 Pittsburgh Hornets IAHL Player-Head 54 22 28 4 0 0.44444 1939-40 Pittsburgh Hornets IAHL Head 56 25 22 9 0 0.52679 1940-41 Pittsburgh Hornets AHL Head 56 21 29 6 0 0.42857 Lost in round 2 1941-42 Pittsburgh Hornets AHL Head 56 23 28 5 0 0.45536 Out of Playoffs 1942-43 Pittsburgh Hornets AHL Head 56 26 24 6 0 0.51786 Lost in round 1 1943-44 Pittsburgh Hornets AHL Head 52 12 31 9 0 0.31731 Out of Playoffs
- ^ The NHL team in Detroit has had three names — Detroit Cougars (1926–1930), Detroit Falcons (1930–1932), and Detroit Red Wings (1932 to date)
- "Aurie Was Still Living Hockey When Death Came at 47". Detroit Free Press. December 13, 1952. p. 13.
- Aurie holds Detroit's forgotten number[dead link], Macomb Daily
- , Kukla's Corner: Ilitch Celebrates Yzerman, Desecrates Aurie
Detroit Falcons captains
| Detroit Red Wings captain