Sad news hit the hockey world on Monday when it was announced that former NHL coach John Brophy passed away at the age of 83 after a long illness.
Brophy, a native of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, played a number of years in the Eastern Hockey League with the Charlotte Clippers, New Haven Blades, Long Island Ducks and Jersey Devils.
His coaching career took him from the SHL to the NHL with stints in the AHL, CHL and ECHL along the way. He was an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1984-85 and 1985-86 before being named the team’s head coach in 1986-87.
He was fired just 33 games into the 1988-89 season after the Leafs started the season 11-20-2. He would go on to coach the Hampton Roads Admirals and Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL before his induction into the ECHL’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of legendary coach and player John Brophy. One of a kind. Tough as nails to the end. RIP good friend
— Joe Bowen (@BonsieTweets) May 23, 2016
“There was no greater competitor than John Brophy,” said the commissioner of the ECHL, Brian McKenna. “He played a significant role in building the ECHL and our annual Coach of the Year award bears his name.”
Certainly a builder of the game, Brophy’s absence will be felt around the hockey world as it continues to mourn.