NHL 100: Colourful coaches marked NHL’s first 100 years

From old-time taskmasters to bright young innovators, with or without loud sports jackets or fedoras, the NHL has had some unforgettable coaches in the past 100 years.

In the latest edition of NHL 100, a weekly series from The Canadian Press, we look at some of the game’s best.


The Bruins coach when they joined the NHL in 1924 led them to three Stanley Cups and 10 first-place finishes. A rushing defenceman when he was a player, he donated the trophy that goes to the league’s top scorer.


Yes, the one the NHL’s coach of the year trophy is named for. He led Detroit to Stanley Cups in 1936, 1937 and 1943. Adams coached 20 years starting in 1928, and was also the tough, anti-union general manager that built a 1950s Red Wings powerhouse.


Day won five Cups in 10 years with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1940s.


He won a Cup with Toronto in 1932 but was best known for taking three in the 1940s and early 1950s with an emerging dynasty in Montreal.


The fedora-wearing former star player took over from Irvin and led the Canadiens to five straight Cups in the late 1950s, then another three in a four-year span before retiring in 1968.


Toe Blake’s main rival was the hard-nosed coach who took the Leafs to three straight Cups in the early 1960s, then stole another one from Montreal with an over-the-hill squad in 1967.


The Philadelphia bench boss who brought assistant coaches and game-day skates to the NHL took the Broad Street Bullies to consecutive Cups in 1974 and 1975 with a combination of muscle and sound team play.


Captain Video coached eight NHL clubs from 1978 to 2002. The curly-mopped coach was always looking for new coaching methods and ways to exploit loopholes in the rule book. His white towel waving in mock surrender to the refs remains a classic.


One of the rare players to wear glasses on the ice grew into the brainy coach of the New York Islanders dynasty that won four straight Cups in the early 1980s, which included winning a record 19 straight playoff series.


He coached more games (2,141), won more games (1,244) and took home more Cups (9) than any coach ever. Many see him as the best of all time. A masterful handler of talent-packed teams in Montreal, Pittsburgh and Detroit.


“Slats” ran the bench as the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers won four Cups in five years in the 1980s and he was GM for another in 1990. Had a .705 winning percentage in the playoffs.


Quinn coached 1,400 NHL games and went to two Cup finals, but the burly bench boss had his best moments for Canada, taking gold at the 2002 Olympics and the 2004 World Cup of hockey, as well as the 2009 world junior championship.


The gruff ex-cop won the Jack Adams trophy with Montreal, Toronto and Boston, but didn’t win a Cup until 2003 with New Jersey.

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press


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