On February 5, 1950, James Dickenson “Dick” Irvin of the Montreal Canadiens became the first coach to win 500 games.
Irvin started his pro hockey career in the WHL with the Portland Rosebuds and scored 31 goals in one 30 game season. Following the successful season he moved up to the NHL where he played center for the Chicago Blackhawks. The 1958 Hall of Fame inductee played in the NHL for three seasons. The 1928-29 season was not only his last season as a player but his first season as a coach.
As a coach Irvin helped the Toronto Maple Leafs claim the Stanley Cup once and the Canadiens three times. At the end of his career he coached 692 wins. The record for career coaching wins was broken by Al Arbour in the 80s. Irvin is currently fourth when it comes to most coaching victories in NHL history. Joel Quenneville of the Blackhawks is third with 693. Arbour finished his career with 782 and Scotty Bowman has 1,244.
Irvin was known for taking risks as a coach. When he was hired by the Canadiens, the franchise was in the dumps both on the ice and in the box office. His forward thinking is thought to have saved the team from bankruptcy during the 15 seasons he headed the team. He is thought to be the most important coach of his generation.
Related Link: http://www.legendsofhockey.net/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/LegendsMember.jsp?mem=p195810&page=bio (Legends of Hockey Biography) http://ourhistory.canadiens.com/coach/Dick-Irvin (Canadiens biography) http://www.mysticgames.com/famouspeople/DickIrvin.htm (Celebrity Information)
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