The ECHL and its member teams mourn the loss and express their condolences to the family and friends of former ECHL coach and 2009 Hall of Fame inductee John Brophy, who passed away this morning following a lengthy illness at the age of 83.
“The entire ECHL is saddened to hear of the passing of John Brophy,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Brophy family. There was no greater competitor than John Brophy. He played a significant role in building the ECHL and our annual Coach of the Year award bears his name.”
Brophy coached the Hampton Roads Admirals from their inception in 1989-90 through the 1999-2000 season when the team joined the American Hockey League. He led the Admirals to Riley Cup titles in 1991 and 1992, and added a Kelly Cup title in 1998, becoming the only coach in ECHL history to lead a team to three championships. After a season away from coaching, Brophy returned to the ECHL with the Wheeling Nailers in 2001-02, leading the team for two seasons. Overall in 13 seasons as an ECHL coach, Brophy posted an overall record of 480-323-79 for a .589 winning percentage and advanced to the playoffs 11 times.
Upon leaving the ECHL, Brophy was the league’s all-time leader in wins and games coached. He currently ranks third with 480 wins and is fourth with 882 games coached. His 13 seasons coaching in the league are tied for second all-time. Brophy still holds the ECHL postseason record with 55 playoff wins and 11 playoff appearances while his 94 postseason games coached ranks second.
Brophy was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame as part of the second inductee class in 2009 and the League’s Coach of the Year award was named in his honor prior to the 2003-04 season.
A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Brophy enjoyed an 18-year playing career in the Eastern Hockey League from 1952-1973, accumulating a league-record 3,822 penalty minutes. Prior to joining Hampton Roads in 1989, he served as a coach in the Eastern Hockey, Southern Hockey League, American Hockey League and World Hockey Association. He reached the National Hockey League as well, serving as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1984-1986, and then serving as the team’s head coach for two-and-a-half seasons from 1986-87 through 1988-89.
Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.