While the latest Hockey Hall of Fame additions had no connection to former Seattle professional teams, this city does enjoy some strong links to enshrinees. At least four players and seven "builders'' in the Hall played for, coached or managed Seattle clubs.
Inside the NHL
Might as well blame Seattle for some of the terror inflicted by the “Broad Street Bullies’’ Philadelphia Flyers in winning consecutive Stanley Cup titles in the mid-1970s.
After all, two “builders’’ in the Hockey Hall of Fame – Keith Allen and Fred Shero – spent formative professional hockey time here as defensemen before becoming architects of that Flyers team. While none of this month’s newly inducted Hall of Fame players – Martin Brodeur, Martin St. Louis, Jayna Hefford or Alexander Yakushev – nor builders Gary Bettman and Willie O’Ree had direct ties to Seattle teams, our city is well represented within its hallowed walls.
At least four players and seven builders in the Hall played for, coached or managed local squads. And some of those local links are better known than others, especially the Allen-Shero connection only die-hard Emerald City puck fans are truly aware of. Still, all played a role advancing the game locally to where the National Hockey League is expected to award this city’s first franchise in two weeks.
Allen played with the Seattle Americans of what was then a minor pro Western Hockey League and, afterward, when the team was renamed “Totems” before the 1958-59 season, began an eight-year stint as coach by leading them to a league title that season. He later became the Flyers’ coach and then general manager, hiring a new coach in Shero, who had played a season for that same Totems franchise in 1951-52 back when it was known as the Seattle Ironmen.
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Allen entered the Hall as a builder in 1992 and died in 2014 at age 90. Shero was enshrined as a builder in 2013, having died at 65 in 1990.
One of Allen’s former Seattle Americans teammates and Totems players, goalie Emile “Cat” Francis, later had a 13-year NHL coaching career with the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues, serving as general manager for both as well. Francis later became GM of the Hartford Whalers before being enshrined as a Hall builder in 1982.
At age 92, Francis is the only living Hall member to have played for a Seattle team.
And a future Flyers assistant coach under Shero, who would later take over and lead them to the 1980 Stanley Cup Final, was Pat Quinn, formerly a young Totems defenseman in 1966-67 that helped them win their second WHL championship that year.
Quinn coached four other NHL teams, taking the Vancouver Canucks to the Final in 1994 while also serving as their general manager. He later became general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and was elected to the Hall as a builder in 2016 — two years after his death from cancer.
And never mind just the players and coaches on those Totems teams and different-named predecessor squads. Some of the men who built and shaped the WHL franchise are also in the Hall and made lasting local hockey contributions.
Murray Costello, the longtime Totems marketing director and director of hockey operations for their two last championships in 1967 and 1968, later served as president of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association from 1979-1994 — streamlining its operations and fostering the growth of women’s hockey. Costello was enshrined in 2005 and is now 84 and, along with Francis, the only living Hall of Famer with ties to former Seattle teams.
Another enshrinee is Al Leader, who moved here in the 1930s and became a player, administrator and founder in several local amateur leagues, then president of a revived pro Pacific Coast Hockey League — later renamed WHL — in 1948. He also helped bring future Totems scoring legend Guyle Fielder to Seattle.
Leader was inducted in 1969 and died in 1982 at age 78.
Beyond builders, four Hall of Famers enshrined for playing ability –Lester Patrick, Frank Foyston, Jack Walker and Hap Holmes – all once played for the Seattle Metropolitans of the defunct Pacific Coast Hockey Association. And some contributed to Seattle hockey beyond their Mets’ stint.
Patrick actually founded the PCHA and the Metropolitans with his brother, Frank, in 1915, the circuit allowing for the innovation of things like the forward pass.
Lester Patrick continued playing in the PCHA, first as a defenseman with the Victoria Aristocrats, which he relocated to Spokane as the “Canaries’’ in 1916. When they folded a year later, Patrick played with the defending Stanley Cup champion Metropolitans for a lone season in 1917-18.
Though his on-ice time here was fleeting, his contributions to hockey’s West Coast growth can’t be overstated. He won four more Stanley Cups as an owner, manager and coach of various teams and the NHL now awards the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding contributions to U.S. hockey.
Patrick was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947, the first ex-Seattle player to receive the honor. His brother was inducted as a builder in 1950. Both died a month apart in 1960.
The Metropolitans and PCHA folded in 1924, but several players and coach Pete Muldoon remained here with new leagues and teams. Foyston, Walker and Holmes had played for Muldoon on the 1917 Cup winning Metropolitans team that upset the favored Montreal Canadiens.
Walker later joined the Victoria Cougars and then Detroit’s new NHL franchise, returning to Seattle in 1928 after Muldoon helped form the first incarnation of the pro Pacific Coast Hockey League and the Seattle Eskimos franchise. Walker would score that franchise’s first goal.
He retired in 1931 and settled in Seattle, where he passed away in 1950 at age 61. A decade later, he was enshrined in the Hall posthumously.
Foyston, like Walker, had played in all nine Metropolitans seasons, finished in Detroit and in 1933 returned to coach the Seattle Seahawks of the new North West Hockey League.
Famously, Foyston was fired before the 1935-36 season. But when the team won only three of its first 10 games, he was rehired and the Seahawks went on to capture their only league title.
Foyston remained in Washington after his coaching days, serving as a Detroit Red Wings scout and raising turkeys on a farm near Port Orchard. He died of cancer in 1966 at age 74 and is buried at the Evergreen-Washelli Memorial Park.
So, while this city never had an actual NHL team, it has been home to some legendary hockey men.
And whenever the new NHL franchise gets around to building a Seattle hockey history section within the remodeled KeyArena – or at the Northgate Mall practice facility – it should have a head start in filling it.