Gregg Inkpen con Broph: On and Off the Ice With John Brophy, One of Hockey's Most Colorful Characters
John Brophy was the quintessential teammate. He had the backs of each player on his hockey, baseball and rugby teams while growing up in depression-era Antigonish, Nova Scotia. His attitude carried over into his adult years as a rough and tumble professional hockey player starting in the early 1950s. He wore his heart on his sleeve—a heart that ached at times due to several childhood tragedies. His string of bad luck carried over into his adult life: a car accident in 1967 resulted in the death of his girlfriend; another wreck in 2000 at the age of sixty-six nearly killed him. Before reaching the pinnacle of hockey heaven—being named head coach of the storied Toronto Maple Leafs in the mid-80s where he coached Leafs’ legends such as Wendel Clark, Borje Salming and Rick Vaive—Brophy was known as a notorious “bad guy” defenseman in the minor leagues in a career that spanned twenty years beginning in the 1950s. He ended his playing career in 1973, immediately going behind the bench and putting in four decades of coaching, winning three championships with one team alone; his professional coaching wins (1,027) placing him second behind legendary NHL Head Coach Scotty Bowman (1,224). Often misunderstood and maligned for his unorthodox coaching techniques, Brophy commanded respect and enabled many of his players to reach NHL status, but only if they adhered to his coaching style. Many players resisted his ways, causing one, Dave Semenko, to retire due to his tactics.You either “got” Brophy or you didn’t. Separating fact from fiction, Broph is a no-holds barred account of one of hockey’s most colorful characters. Through interviews with Brophy himself and the people who knew him best, this is Brophy, uncensored and unplugged.