Wren Blair, first North Stars coach, passes away at 87

The Minnesota Wild organization and the State of Hockey join in mourning the passing of Wren Blair, who died Wednesday in Whitby, Ontario. He was 87.

Blair was the first general manager and coach of the Minnesota North Stars. He joined the North Stars, as an NHL expansion team, in 1967 and had two tenures coaching the club and was the team’s general manager until 1974.

“I was saddened to hear that wren has passed away,” said Tom Reid, who Blair brought to the North Stars during the 1968-69 season.  “He was certainly the guy who put the North Stars on the map in the early years as a expansion team.”

“He loved the players, and as a GM, would boo the players, but didn’t like it when the fans did the same thing,” Reid said. “He was a character. You don’t find people in sports like him anymore.”

Blair is best know in the hockey world, as the man who helped the Boston Bruins land Bobby Orr. As a scout for the Bruins, he signed Orr, then a 14-year-old phenom, to the Bruins-sponsored Oshawa Generals in 1962.

After leaving the North Stars’ organization, Blair served as president and chief operating officer of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1975-76 and 1976-77. He also spent six years as player personnel director for the Los Angeles Kings.

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