The Detroit Red Wings, last-place finishers in the NHL's Norris Division the past four seasons, have been sold to the owner of a chain of pizza stores in a move that ends the 50-year tenure of the Norris family.
Details were withheld at yesterday's announcement, but new owner Mike Ilitch was thought to have paid about $5 million for the Wings and farm clubs at Glens Falls, N.Y., and Kalamazoo, Mich. The sale did not include the Olympia Corp., which owns rights to Joe Louis Arena, including concessions.
Ilitch said he would take an active role with the team but let the general manager and the coach--both yet to be named--run day-to-day operations. "I do feel I made a good buy, businesswise," said Ilitch, 50, who owned the Detroit Caesars professional softball team, 1977-79 . . .
In Glens Falls, Jack Kelley was named director of the Civic Center and general manager of the AHL Adirondack Red Wings. Kelley, former coach-g.m. of the WHA and NHL Whalers in Hartford, replaces Ned Harkness, new chief executive of the Olympic Regional Development Authority at Lake Placid . . .
In St. Louis, Emile Francis, Blues' president and general manager who took over from Red Berenson as coach late last season, has named himself coach for next season; at 55, the NHL's oldest. Francis said Barclay Plager, assistant coach, will step in to free him when needed for his executive duties . . .
In West Palm Beach, Fla., NHL Players Association president Tony Esposito reported "a stalemate but not an impasse" with the owners after more than eight hours of negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement. Talks were recessed until today. Free agency is the sticking point.