The American Hockey League is mourning the passing Saturday of Hockey Hall of Famer Emile Francis.
He was 95.
Francis spent six seasons in the AHL during his 14-year professional playing career, tending goal for the New Haven Ramblers, Cincinnati Mohawks and Cleveland Barons. He was a Second Team AHL All-Star in 1953-54, when he led the league with 37 wins and five shutouts and backstopped Cleveland to a Calder Cup championship.
In addition to his outstanding playing career, Francis’s work as an executive made him one of the most respected individuals in hockey, and earned him election into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1982.
Francis coached the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1972 and was their general manager from 1964-75, and later joined the St. Louis Blues as executive vice president, general manager and coach. After building winning teams in New York and St. Louis, Francis joined the Hartford Whalers as president and general manager in 1983, and stayed on as team president until his retirement in 1993.
In 2001, the AHL recognized his contributions by establishing the Emile Francis Trophy, which is presented annually to the champions of the Atlantic Division. Francis was also honored by the league at the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic in Binghamton, N.Y., and was a recipient of the prestigious Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in the United States in 1982.