Toe Blake

He inherited perhaps the most talented team in history, but he encouraged them to work as a team, and achieved unprecedented results. In his 13 seasons, Blake compiled the most successful coaching record in the history of the NHL.

Blake, Toe
In his 13 seasons as a coach, Blake compiled the most successful coaching record in the history of the NHL until Scot Bowman.

Blake, Hector

Hector Blake, "Toe," hockey player and coach (b at Victoria Mines, NS 21 Aug 1912; d at Montréal 17 May 1995). He joined MONTREAL CANADIENS in 1936 and won the HART TROPHY (most valuable player) and scoring championship 1938-39. Later he played left wing on the effective "Punch Line" with Maurice RICHARD and Elmer Lach. He broke an ankle in 1948 and retired. He was a tenacious, productive player, with 235 regular season goals and 62 points in 57 playoff games. Part French Canadian, he coached in Valleyfield, Qué (now Salaberry-de-Valleyfield), before taking over the Canadiens in 1955.

He inherited perhaps the most talented team in history, but he encouraged them to work as a team, and achieved unprecedented results. In his 13 seasons, Blake compiled the most successful coaching record in the history of the NHL. In that period, Montréal finished first 9 times and won the STANLEY CUP 8 times, including 5 straight 1956-60. He was an emotional coach, often abrasive and boisterous, and coaching strained him. He retired in 1968 and was appointed a VP of the team. Blake was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966 and was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1982. He died at age 82 after suffering for several years from Alzheimer's disease.