One of the most significant personalities in hockey, Wren Blair, passed away Thursday at his home in Canada.
A member of the Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame, Blair is credited with bring professional hockey to Saginaw when he founded the IHL Saginaw Gears in the 1970s.
Blair also worked in the NHL. He was instrumental in establishing the expansion of the Minnesota North Stars. He coached the Stars for several seasons, then became the team's general manager.
He also co-owned the Pittsburgh Penguins in the mid 1970s. He is most known for securing the talents of one of the best in the game, Bobby Orr, when Blair was an executive with the Boston Bruins a decade earlier.
Blair also had a big part in the beginning stages of bringing the OHL to Saginaw; he was instrumental in Spirit Owner Dick Garber??s acquisition of the North Bay Centennials organization when the team was sold in the 2001-02 season.
Blair stayed on as a consultant with the team.
"On behalf of Dick Garber and the entire Saginaw Spirit and OHL communities, our hearts are full of sadness at the passing of Wren Blair," Spirit President Craig Goslin said. "At the same time, our hearts are full of gratitude as it was our privilege to know him and to be associated with him. He was a true hockey icon that was the catalyst that established the OHL in Saginaw in 2001. Personally, he was a mentor to me as he spent much time over the past decade teaching, advising and sharing his ideals with me. Wren was one of the most passionate people about our game on the planet. He possessed the rare expertise of being highly knowledgeable on how to maximize all opportunities in operating a top hockey franchise off the ice, and how to create a champion on the ice. He dedicated his life to his work in promoting the game of hockey and we all will be forever grateful. His contagious passion for our game, his warm greeting and sincerity will live in the minds and hearts of all of us who knew and loved him. "
The visitation for Wren Blair will be Thursday, January 10th in Oshawa from 2-4 and 7-9, and the funeral will be Friday the 11th at 1:00 pm.