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Detroit Red Wings prospect John “Jack” Adams discusses the back-story of his name, and his confusion when he was drafted by the Wings in June. Video recorded Saturday, July 8, 2017 at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City.
Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press

TRAVERSE CITY — He didn’t know he had been drafted by the Detroit Red Wings until he began answering his phone. 

To the utter joy of those who appreciate legends in both hockey and history, the Wings used their sixth-round pick in June’s draft to select somebody they announced as Jack Adams, but who was announced by the NHL as John Adams. 

That led to some head scratching, to say the least.

“My real name is John but my mom calls me Jack,” Adams explained this weekend during Wings development camp at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City. “My whole family, everyone calls me Jack, so I go by that.

“I guess the rule is they have to announce you as John or the pick doesn’t count. So everyone was texting me all confused about it.”

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Jack Adams, the hockey legend, segued from a Hall of Fame playing career in the 1920s into a nearly four-decade association with the Wings as a coach and general manager, during which he guided the club to seven Stanley Cups (he also, among other questionable decisions, traded Ted Lindsay). 

The new Wings’ Adams said “a ton of fans tweeted at me” about that. Asked what he knows about John Adams, the U.S.’s second president, Adams smiled. “He’s from Boston, too, like me. Second president. I don’t know much about his policy but it’s pretty neat to have the same name.”

Even Adams fell prey to the confusion about his name on the day he was drafted.

“I was listening to it and it was like, ‘John’ and I’m like, ‘hmm,’ ” he said. “Then my adviser called me and asked, ‘are you happy?’ And I was like, ‘why would I be happy?’ He’s like, ‘you just got picked by the Red Wings.’ It was pretty crazy.

“Everyone was texting me like, ‘hey, is that you?’ I’m like, ‘yeah, it’s me.’ And then it exploded on social media. A lot of people were joking about it so it was pretty neat.”

Adams, 20, is going to Union College next season. The 6-foot-5, 204-pound forward is focused on his footwork. “I’ve got pretty good skill and hockey sense,” he said. “So once I get my feet down and grow into my body more, I could be a pretty good player.”

Contact Helene St. James: hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.

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