When you have a franchise as storied and rich in history as the Toronto Maple Leafs, you have a lot to draw back on. Unfortunately, it also means in the present day, you have a lot more, well, deaths to acknowledge, as those who played pivotal roles in the team throughout the years eventually succumb.
John Brophy, head coach of the Leafs for roughly two and a half seasons from 1986-88, has passed away at the age of 83.
Sad news: John Brophy passed away this morning after battling some health issues, according to his family...— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 23, 2016
The Leafs made the playoffs in both of the full seasons he coached: in 1987, they beat the St. Louis Blues in the first round, but fell to the Detroit Red Wings in a seven-game second round series. In 1988, those same Wings defeated the Leafs four games to two in the first round.
The Leafs were the only NHL team he ever coached, but he spent years upon years upon years in the game, particularly with the ECHL's Hampton Roads Admirals, which he coached from 1989-2000. He brought them three championships.
Brophy is credited with more than 1,000 pro coaching victories, a number surpassed only by Scotty Bowman. So many great stories about...— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 23, 2016
his playing/coaching days. Was too young to cover his coaching days in Toronto, but those who did said I really missed out. They loved him.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 23, 2016
Rest in piece, sir. He had an absolutely long and fantastic hockey career.
A relative said "John would not like a fuss about this." No chance. You'll hear a ton of great stories. All the best to his friends & family— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 23, 2016