May 18, 2015

Bernie Brophy

Bernie Brophy was a "lumbering Irishman" who never got a long with Detroit's hockey czar Jack Adams.

"You see these grey hairs?" Brophy is reported to have said. "You credit Brophy for at least a fistful."

Brophy grew up in Collingwood, Ontario. He was also an excellent footballer, baseball player and track and field star, but of course he was a hockey star first and foremost.

The Montreal Maroons were first to notice the speedster who was said to be able to shoot with either hand. They signed him for the 1925-26 season. Though he played just 10 regular season games and no playoff games, he still got his name on the Stanley Cup that season.

Brophy disappeared to the minor leagues for the next couple of seasons, re-emerging with the newly minted Detroit Cougars in 1928. He would play parts of two seasons, scoring four goals over 52 games.

Brophy actually scored one more goal, and it was what infuriated the boss Jack Adams so much. Detroit won a defensive zone face-off against the New York Rangers. Rather than exiting the zone Brophy took the puck back towards his own net. He attempted to backhand the puck behind the net and out the other side. Instead he fired a perfect shot past a shocked Detroit goaltender, Dolly Dolson. Brophy's terrible own-goal was the only goal in a 1-0 loss to the Rangers. The fuming Adams was said to have never talked to Brophy again, and had him exiled in the minor leagues soon thereafter.

The left winger was off to the International Hockey League, playing with several teams over the next seven years.

Brophy's IHL career came to an abrupt end. In April 1936 he refused to continue playing in the playoffs unless he was paid a bonus that he felt he was owed. The IHL and the Windsor Bulldogs clearly disagreed and suspended him for life. Interestingly, the ban was announced by none other than Jack Adams.

Brophy packed up and headed back home to Collingwood to play senior hockey with the Shipbuilders hockey team. He would later coach the team as well.

Brophy, who may have worked as a harbormaster, passed away in 1982.

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