Early team decisions




Some of the early decisions that Wren Blair and company made concerning the early development of the Saginaw Gears would turn out to be way beyond "good." One of the first was the selection of the team's head coach and general manager. For that position, Don Perry was picked. Perry had been involved in professional hockey for over two decades most of which had been spent as a defenseman playing among the killers in the old Eastern Hockey League. Under Perry's leadership, the Saginaw Gears would make a remarkable impression on the IHL and rapidly become a driving force in the league.

There also needed to be a public relations crew that were handy at the art of selling hockey to a local population who, up to that point, thought of Canadians as those strange, quiet people who live on the other side of the lake. The crew that could do that job for the Gears were Pat Shetler (seen here on the left in the photo) and Al Blade (seen here on the right in the photo). These two gentlemen came to town with more tricks of promoting hockey up their sleeves than most teams have pucks. They knew that for the Gears to flourish the keys would be exposure and the building of fan loyalty. This was the same ideal that was held by Wren Blair, and it worked.

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