You know you’ve had a legendary professional hockey career when the Championship rings and the Commemorative awards fit nicely beside the Arrest Warrant.
MeiGrayAuctions.com is offering the personal collection of John Brophy, the minor-league hockey icon whose Eastern Hockey League playing career and professional hockey coaching career spanned more than 50 years and helped inspire the legendary 1975 movie, Slap Shot.
The auction runs through February 23. All 43 lots come directly from the Brophy Family.
Brophy, who died last spring at the age of 83, was the “Bad Man” of the Eastern Hockey League for two decades and an inspiration for the legendary movie “Slap Shot.” He became one of the winningest coaches in pro hockey history and one of its all-time most memorable characters at any level.
He earned his most major penalty as a Charlotte Clipper in 1960, after a stick-swinging incident in Greensboro, North Carolina. The arrest warrant from that affair is among the items in the auction. As stated in this affidavit that remained in Brophy’s possession for more than 50 years, as if he needed to be reminded of his Eastern League playing days, Brophy “did unlawfully and willfully assault one George Stewart with a deadly weapon, to wit: a hockey stick, inflicting injury” after hitting Stewart of the Greensboro Generals during a game at Greensboro War Memorial Coliseum.
The charges must not have stuck: Brophy missed only six games all season.
Brophy, born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, played for EHL teams in Baltimore, Charlotte, New Haven, Long Island, Philadelphia and Jersey from 1955-1973. He racked up 3,817 penalty minutes in 1,143 EHL games, leaving little time to score 34 goals and 300 assists.
When he was done playing, he went on to become the second-winningest head coach in professional hockey history, with his 1,027 wins between the Eastern Hockey League, North American Hockey League, Southern Hockey League, American Hockey League, World Hockey Association, Central Hockey League, National Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League and Southern Professional Hockey League, behind only Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman.
Brophy got his coaching start with the WHA’s Birmingham Bulls in 1978-79, going 32-42-6. He coached more than two full seasons with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, going 64-111-18. Brophy lived by the Conn Smythe credo, “If you can’t beat them in the alley, you can’t beat them on the ice.”
Brophy was also a key figure in black hockey history. He helped steer the careers of Val James (the NHL’s first American-born black player), and Bill Riley (the third black player in NHL history after Willie O’Ree and Mike Marson).
Brophy retired as the ECHL’s leader in regular-season games coached (882), regular-season wins (440) and seasons coaches (13). His Hampton Roads Admirals won ECHL titles in 1991, 1992, and 1998. His three titles are a league record, as are his 11 postseason appearances. Brophy’s indelible stamp on the game led the ECHL Coach of the Year Award to be named in his honor in 2003.
He was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009.
To check out the auction and register for bidding, visit MeiGrayAuctions.com.