PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Thursday that the ECHL Coach of the Year will receive the John Brophy Award, named in honor of legendary coach John Brophy.
“It is a tremendous honor and I want to thank the ECHL for thinking of me,” said Brophy, who retired following the 2002-03 season.
“The ECHL is proud to announce that the annual Coach of the Year award will be named in honor of John Brophy,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “More than just the wins, John played a large role in building the ECHL. John Brophy was a fierce competitor and his teams always showed up ready to play and compete. That is the ultimate measure of any coach.”
Ironically, Brophy was never named ECHL Coach of the Year in any of his 13 seasons.
Brophy coached more seasons than any other coach in league history with Hampton Roads from 1989-2000 and Wheeling from 2001-03, compiling a career record of 480-323-79 in the regular season and 55-39 in the postseason. Hampton Roads reached the postseason in each of his 11 seasons behind the bench, winning back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992 and an ECHL record third title in 1998. His three ECHL titles are the most in league history and he is also the all-time leader among ECHL coaches in regular season games (878) and regular season wins (480) and postseason games (94) and wins (55). Brophy has 1,028 professional wins and ranks second all-time in professional hockey to only the legendary Scotty Bowman (1,244 wins).
After a 20-year playing career with several different minor league teams, Brophy began his coaching career with the Long Island Cougars (NAHL) in 1973-74. The following season he moved to Hampton Roads to coach the Hampton Gulls (SHL). He guided the Gulls from 1974-77 and in 1977-78 he was behind the bench when the Gulls moved to the American Hockey League. When the Gulls ceased operations, Brophy moved to the Birmingham Bulls where he garnered WHA Coach of the Year honors. Brophy led the Montreal Canadiens affiliate, the Nova Scotia Voyagers from 1981-84. Brophy served as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1984-85 and was named head coach of the Maple Leafs minor league club, the St. Catherines Saints the next season. The next year, Brophy took over as head coach of the Maple Leafs until 1988-89.