The Philadelphia Flyers and the hockey world is mourning the loss of Keith Allen, their first head coach, Hockey Hall-of-Famer and the GM behind the Flyers’ only two Stanley Cup championships, who died Tuesday at age 90.
“Keith was the first coach in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers and a man for whom I have tremendous respect,” Flyers chairman Ed Snider said in a team statement. “In my mind he was and always will be one of the greatest general managers in the history of hockey. He was known as ‘Keith the Thief,’ [and] I never knew of a bad deal he made…I will never forget all of the many memories we shared together.”
Allen, who was the Flyers’ inaugural coach in their debut 1967-68 season, quickly moved into upper management, hired legendary coach Fred Shero and was the man behind Philly’s “Broad St. Bullies” who won back-to-back Cups in 1974 and 1975. He served as the team’s GM for 14 years (1969-83) and led them to four conference championships and a .612 winning percentage (563-322-194).
The Saskatoon, Sask., native was a hockey lifer, a defenseman who played mostly in the American and Western Leagues between being fortunate enough to be part of two Cup wins as a player for the Detroit Red Wings in 1954 and 1955 in his only two NHL seasons. He was inducted into the Hall as a builder in 1992.