Fred “The Fog” Shero, the Philadelphia Flyers third head coach in team history (behind predecessors Keith Allen and Vic Stasiuk), coached the team from 1971 until 1978. In the process, the team won (its first) two Stanley Cups in team history (1973-74 and ’74-75), and thus became the first 1967 NHL expansion team to win a Stanley Cup out of the six new expansion franchises.
Shero was an amazing motivator, coach and overall contributor to the game of hockey. Prior to his tenure beginning in Philadelphia (which was his first opportunity at coaching at the professional level), he played a little bit of professional hockey with the Rangers (with a career NHL games played total of just 147), which sandwiched stints as a player at the minor league level. He coached in the minor leagues as well for St. Paul, Omaha and Buffalo (in the Rangers’ system).
The Fog was an innovator and a creator of many intelligent, well thought out, practical systems as an NHL coach, which continue to be commonly employed by coaches in today’s day and age. He was the first coach to incorporate many of these systems in hockey, which include: studying and applying Soviet Union hockey influences, studying game-day film prior to the next respective game, having his players use in-season strength training, the morning skate, and in general, attempting to dig deep below x’s and o’s in outsmarting opposing coaches.
Shero won the cup with Philadelphia in succession from 1974-75, in the process defeating the rival Bruins and Buffalo. The next year, after the team won their two straight Cups, the team again made it to the Finals, this time losing to the offensive powerhouse Montreal Canadiens in a four-game sweep (three out of the four losses were one goal games). Surely a serious neck injury to two-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner/star starting goalie Bernie Parent midway through the ’75-76 season hampered the team’s chances to compete with Montreal in the finals, but nonetheless, the team was still impressive that season prior to defeat.
Fast-forward to two years later, after the 1977-78 NHL season concluded, following the team’s Finals loss to Montreal two years prior, Shero decided to leave Philadelphia in favor of coaching his former team, the rival New York Rangers. This was due to Shero believing that he had nothing further to prove/accomplish in his tenure with the Flyers, due to the two Cup wins in the span of his eight years there. He signed a five-year, $250,000 dollar deal with New York to be their new head coach and general manager, despite previously toying around with the thought of retiring all together in favor of becoming a lawyer.
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Tags: al arbour, bob mccammon, bobby clarke, Canadiens, championship, editorial, Flyers, fred shero, Hockey, Montreal, new york islanders, NHL, pat quinn, phi, Philadelphia Flyers, Stanley Cup Finals