Dick Irvin
Dick Irvin.jpg
Born July 19, 1892(1892-07-19)
Hamilton, ON, CAN
Died May 15, 1957(1957-05-15) (aged 64),
5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
162 lb (73 kg; 11 st 8 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Chicago Black Hawks
Playing career 1926–1929
Hall of Fame, 1958

James Dickinson Irvin, Sr. (July 19, 1892 – May 15, 1957) was a Canadian ice hockey player and coach in the National Hockey League.

Born in Hamilton, Ontario,[1] Irvin was one of the greatest players of his day, balancing a torrid slapshot and tough style with gentlemanly play. He played junior and senior amateur hockey in Winnipeg, Manitoba, winning the Allan Cup in 1915 with the Winnipeg Monarchs. He began his professional career in 1916 with the Portland Rosebuds of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association and was the fourth leading scoring rookie tallying 35 goals. Following a brief stint in the Canadian Army, he was reinstated as an amateur, but turned professional again in 1921 with the Regina Capitals of the Western Canada Hockey League. In 1926, at age 34, he entered the NHL, signed by the newly formed Chicago Black Hawks. Irvin was made the team's first captain, and had an impressive campaign, finishing second in the league in scoring. In their first season, the Black Hawks led all NHL teams in scoring, led by Irvin and Babe Dye. Irvin's second season turned to tragedy as he fractured his skull, which led to retirement after the 1928–29 season. The Hawks had finished with the worst record in the NHL in both of his last two seasons as a player.

Irvin was hired as head coach of the Black Hawks in 1930, and in his first season behind the bench led the team to 24 wins, 17 losses and 3 ties. Upon seeing his success as a coach, Toronto Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe convinced Irvin to coach the Leafs. In his first season coaching the Leafs (the first in the brand-new Maple Leaf Gardens), he achieved immediate success by winning the Stanley Cup. However, Irvin was unable to deliver another Cup for the Leafs, despite taking them to the finals six more times.

By the end of the 1939–40, Smythe felt that Irvin had taken the Leafs as far as he could and forced him to resign. Soon afterward, Tommy Gorman went and picked him up and drove him to Montreal to become coach of the then-moribund Montreal Canadiens.[2] Irvin's hiring was actually engineered by Smythe, who was concerned about the Habs' future after they only won 10 games during the 1939-40 season—still the worst record in the franchise's storied history. Smythe feared that the league would not survive the loss of the Canadiens, and suggested that Gorman hire Irvin as coach.[3]

Irvin found his greatest success in Montreal, leading the Habs to six finals and three Cups. Helped by star players Elmer Lach, Doug Harvey, goalie Bill Durnan and a young Maurice Richard, the Canadiens were just beginning to blossom as an NHL dynasty. Irvin, however, came under fire for encouraging "goon" tactics, especially after Montreal fans rioted in protest of Richard's suspension for the 1955 playoffs. He was already well known for looking the other way when stick-swinging duels broke out in practices.[3] Although they made it to the finals (losing to the Detroit Red Wings), internal pressure forced Irvin to step down.

He returned to the Black Hawks as head coach for the 1955–56 season, taking the reins of a moribund team that had only made the playoffs once in the past 10 years and finished last in the past two seasons. Irvin was unable to turn the team's fortunes around, and the Black Hawks again ended the year in last place, despite the emergence of Ed Litzenberger as a scoring star. Irvin was to coach the Black Hawks again in 1956–57, but he became so ill with bone cancer that he had to retire before the season began. He died a few months later at age 64.

A year later, Irvin was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame. His coaching career included four Stanley Cups with 692 regular season wins, results surpassed only by Al Arbour and Scotty Bowman.

His son, Dick Irvin, Jr., is a noted Canadian television sports announcer.

Awards and achievements Edit

  • Allan Cup Championship (1915)
  • Stanley Cup Championships (1932 - Toronto, 1944, 1946, and 1953 - Montreal)
  • Lost in the finals a record 12 times as a Coach (1931 - Chicago, 1933-35-36-38-39-40 - Toronto, 1947-51-52-54-55 - Montreal)
  • NHL First All-Star Team Coach (1944, 1945, & 1946)
  • NHL Second All-Star Team Coach (1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, & 1941)
  • Inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 1983
  • Selected to Manitoba's All-Century First All-Star Team and named Coach of the Century
  • “Honoured Member” of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame

Career statisticsEdit

                                            --- Regular Season ---  ---- Playoffs ----
Season   Team                        Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM  GP   G   A Pts PIM
1922-23  Regina Capitals             WCHL   25    9    4   13   12
1923-24  Regina Capitals             WCHL   29   15    8   23   33
1924-25  Regina Capitals             WCHL   28   13    5   18   38
1925-26  Portland Rosebuds           WCHL   30   30    5   35   31
1926-27  Chicago Black Hawks         NHL    44   18   18   36   34   2   2   0   2   4
1927-28  Chicago Black Hawks         NHL    14    5    4    9   14  --  --  --  --  --
1928-29  Chicago Black Hawks         NHL    36    6    1    7   30  --  --  --  --  --
         NHL Totals                         94   29   23   52   78   2   2   0   2   4

Coaching recordEdit

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish Result
CHI1928–29 12264-(22)5th in AmericanDid Not Qualify
CHI1930–31 4424173-512nd in AmericanLost in Stanley Cup Finals
TOR1931–32 4323155-(53)2nd in CanadianWon Stanley Cup
TOR1932–33 4824186-541st in CanadianLost in Stanley Cup Finals
TOR1933–34 4826139-611st in CanadianLost in Second Round
TOR1934–35 4830144-641st in CanadianLost in Stanley Cup Finals
TOR1935–36 4823196-522nd in CanadianLost in Stanley Cup Finals
TOR1936–37 4822215-493rd in CanadianLost in First Round
TOR1937–38 4824159-571st in CanadianLost in Stanley Cup Finals
TOR1938–39 4819209-473rd in NHLLost in Stanley Cup Finals
TOR1939–40 4825176-563rd in NHLLost in Stanley Cup Finals
MTL1940–41 4816266-386th in NHLLost in First Round
MTL1941–42 4818273-396th in NHLLost in First Round
MTL1942–43 50191912-504th in NHLLost in First Round
MTL1943–44 503857-831st in NHLWon Stanley Cup
MTL1944–45 503884-801st in NHLLost in First Round
MTL1945–46 5028175-611st in NHLWon Stanley Cup
MTL1946–47 60341610-781st in NHLLost in Stanley Cup Finals
MTL1947–48 60202911-515th in NHLDid Not Qualify
MTL1948–49 6028239-653rd in NHLLost in First Round
MTL1949–50 70292219-772nd in NHLLost in First Round
MTL1950–51 70253015-653rd in NHLLost in Stanley Cup Finals
MTL1951–52 70342610-782nd in NHLLost in Stanley Cup Finals
MTL1952–53 70282319-752nd in NHLWon Stanley Cup
MTL1953–54 70352411-812nd in NHLLost in Stanley Cup Finals
MTL1954–55 70411811-932nd in NHLLost in Stanley Cup Finals
CHI1955–56 70193912-506th in NHLDid Not Qualify

See alsoEdit


Goyens, Chrys; Turowetz, Allan (1986). Lions in Winter. Scarborough, ON: Prentice-Hall Canada. ISBN 013537457X. 

  1. Cole, Stephen (2006). The Canadian Hockey Atlas. Doubleday Canada. ISBN 978-0-385-66093-8 (0-385-66093-6). 
  2. Goyens, p. 45
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hunter, Douglas (1997). Champions: The Illustrated History of Hockey's Greatest Dynasties. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 1572432166. 

External linksEdit

Preceded by
new creation
Chicago Black Hawks captains
Succeeded by
L. S. Dutkowski
Preceded by
Bill Tobin
Head Coaches of the Chicago Black Hawks
Succeeded by
Bill Tobin
Preceded by
Art Duncan
Head Coaches of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Succeeded by
Hap Day
Preceded by
Pit Lepine
Head Coaches of the Montreal Canadiens
Succeeded by
Toe Blake
Preceded by
Frank Eddolls
Head Coaches of the Chicago Black Hawks
Succeeded by
Tommy Ivan

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