Bud Poile (1924-2005)

The American Hockey League joins the entire hockey community in mourning the passing of Norman R. “Bud” Poile, an honored member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Poile, who died Tuesday in Vancouver, was 80.

Born in Fort William, Ont., Poile began his professional hockey career as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942. After returning from service in World War II, he helped the Leafs capture the Stanley Cup in 1947.

As a head coach, Poile was behind the bench for nine seasons (1952-62) with the Edmonton Flyers of the Western Hockey League, where he won three league titles and was named executive of the year by The Hockey News in 1953. He then spent four seasons as the head coach of the WHL’s San Francisco Seals.

In 1967, Poile became the first GM of the NHL expansion Philadelphia Flyers, and would serve as general manager of the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Quebec Aces, from 1968-70. In 1970, he signed on as the first GM of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.

In 1976, he began an eight-year run as the commissioner of the Central Hockey League, and during the 1983-84 season, Poile also took over the commissioner’s role of the International Hockey League. He continued as the IHL commissioner until retiring in 1989.

Poile was honored with the Lester Patrick Award, presented for outstanding service to hockey in the United States, in 1989, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990.

In 2001, the AHL instituted the Bud Poile Trophy, which is today awarded to the regular-season champions in the Western Conference.

A memorial service will be on held on Friday afternoon in Vancouver. Anyone wishing to make a contribution on Poile’s behalf can donate to the Canucks for Kids Fund, 1690 Matthews Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6J 2T2.