February 05, 2016

Bud Poile

When hockey fans hear the name Bud Poile they may have very different immediate thoughts jump to mind. It all depends on how old you are.

Firstly, for modern fans, yes, Bud Poile is related to David Poile, the long time NHL general manager with the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators. Bud was David's father.

Other modern fans may recognize trophies named in Bud's honour. In the American Hockey League, the Bud Poile Trophy is awarded to the Western Conference team that finishes the regular season with the best record.  And, from 1989 through to 2001, the Bud Poile Trophy was given to the most valuable player in the IHL's Turner Cup playoffs.

Obviously, having trophies named in your honour means you did something pretty significant in your career. Then again, so does winning the Lester Patrick Award for dedication to the game of hockey in the United States, as does being inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1990.

Poile's served about forty years as a coach, manager and league commissioner.

He was a long time coach in the old professional Western Hockey League, most notably with the Edmonton Flyers in the 1950s and the San Francisco Seals in the 1960s.

When the NHL began expanding in 1967 he served as the first ever general manager in the history of both the Philadelphia Flyers and Vancouver Canucks. He was instrumental in securing Bobby Clarke in Philly. He never had really had a chance to make his imprint in Vancouver as he resigned prematurely due to health reasons.

From 1976 through 1983 he served as the commissioner of the Central Hockey League. He then moved on to the same post for the International Hockey League until 1989.

But what many people do not realize is that before all that Bud Poile was a pretty nice career as a hockey player in the National Hockey League.

Poile played over 300 NHL games in 1940s. He likely would have played a lot more had he not lost almost three full seasons to World War II military commitments.

He was a 20 goal threat while playing on the "Flying Forts" line with Gus Bodnar and Gaye Stewart. All three hailed from Fort William, Ontario.

That trio helped the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1947. But then the whole line, along with Bob Goldham and Enrie Dickens were traded to Chicago for superstar Max Bentley.

Poile was emerging as a nice player in Chicago, even earn an All Star game berth in 1948, but then was traded to Detroit. A year later he was moved to Boston and then New York before disappearing to the minor leagues.

Poile would live until 2005 when he passed away due to complications of Parkinson's Disease.

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