Great article in the National Post this am. For those of you who suffered through the 80’s as a leafs fan, it’s hard not to smile when you hear the name John Brophy. For almost 3 full seasons the white haired, red faced man screamed, ranted and raved behind the bench at the old Maple Leaf Gardens. If nothing else he was entertaining and colorful. Brophy may not have been the best coach but he certainly tried hard and he really wanted to win. Considering the awful talent he had it’s amazing he lasted as long as he did!
“If you belonged to the Leafs Nation in the late 1980s, hunt around in a dusty corner of your basement, and you might find a black straw hat with “Brophy’s Boys” written across the front. It is a souvenir from a long lost playoff spring in Toronto. Root around in the old memories, Leafs Nation, and you might even remember him – the white-haired menace with the loud wardrobe. And you might remember Brophy’s Boys, who, for nearly 2½ seasons in the late 1980s, did a lot more losing than winning. Maybe, you have wondered what ever became of that raving maniac who would storm in to the Toronto dressing room during intermissions, take off his fancy suit jacket, stomp all over it, and blister the players with profanity-sodden speeches about working harder and playing with pride.”Everything was gorgeous in Toronto,” says Brophy. “I only wished I’d won more games.””
Brophy was hockey as it should be. When he fans were screaming mad he went NUTS…It was priceless….
“Brophy recorded 1,044 wins as a coach, second only to Scotty Bowman in professional hockey. He claims the hacksaw incident was overblown, says he actually handed the heckler the tool, instead of hurling it at him. There were other incidents: some shoving in Roanoke, Va., when the enemy fans really ticked him off; and some assault charges laid by police along the way because of intermingling with the crowd. But there were never any convictions in court. See, part of what made Brophy the King of the Minors, a Hall of Famer and the namesake for the ECHL’s coach of year award, were all the misdemeanours.”
How great is that?? Second only to Bowman! Don’t get me wrong when I say this, but the Leafs should have Brophy come out and drop a puck! You don’t have to put up a banner- just let him come and drop a puck, give out white wigs…it would be classic!
“But the fiery old coach is not ready to quit on life just yet. He has another game to prepare for, one more prize to win.
“I want the big one,” he growls. “I want the Hockey Hall of Fame, because I got the credentials to get in. You win 1,000 games — you travel all over two countries — and it is not easy. It is hard work. But I never considered it work.
“You just got to win. That’s it. It does not matter how – just so long as you win – and that’s the way it has been my entire life, and that’s the way I am.””
If he makes it to the Hall I am certain that members of the press would scream bloody hell. Let them. Brophy is a character who was good for the game, who put his time in and deserves a thank you. Hall of fame material? Hell if I know… I would love to see the guy give an acceptance speech. If he gets in can Val James be the presenter?
James, was my favorite player of that era…
the article in the post is here