1954-55 Red Wings: Keith Allen

keith-allen-posed-red-wings

THE KEITH ALLEN FILE:

Born: August 21, 1923; Died: February 4, 2014

Position: Defense

NHL games played: 28 (all with Red Wings)

1954-55 stats: 18 GP; 0 G; 0 A; 6 PM

CAREER: Goals: 0; Assists: 4; PM: 8

Keith Allen played just 28 NHL games, yet he has his name engraved on the Stanley Cup—twice.

Allen was a 30 year-old NHL rookie defenseman when he made his league debut for the Red Wings during the 1953-54 season. In February of 1954, the Red Wings purchased Allen from Syracuse of the American Hockey League after he balked at being assigned to Springfield of the Quebec League by Syracuse owner and NHL Hall of Famer Eddie Shore.

Allen played just 10 games for the Red Wings (no goals, four assists) but was included on the playoff roster, and thus earned his engraving when the Wings won the Stanley Cup that spring. Allen played five games in the 1954 playoffs but his name never appeared on a scoresheet, as he went without a point and accumulated zero penalty minutes. Still, it was good enough to get his name on the Cup.

In 1954-55, Allen played just 18 games, going scoreless. Even though he was left off the 1955 playoff roster, Allen played enough games to warrant another Cup engraving.

But it was as a coach and an executive where Keith Allen made his hay, so to speak.

Allen coached for nine years in the Western Hockey League, in Seattle, and only once did his teams post a losing record. That success led to his being hired as the first coach in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers, in 1967.

After two seasons behind the Flyers bench, Allen moved into the general manager position and that’s when he really made his mark in the NHL.

Allen basically constructed the “Broad Street Bullies” that won two straight Cups (1974 and 1975) and appeared in three straight Finals (they were swept in 1976 by Montreal). He was nicknamed “Keith the Thief” for all the one-sided trades he was able to orchestrate for the Flyers.

Allen also helped build the expansion Maine Mariners of the AHL, which ended up being one of the most successful franchises in that league’s history. Allen would eventually move into the role of Executive VP of the Flyers.

Keith Allen was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a Builder in 1992. He passed away this past February at age 90.

Next week: LW Marcel Bonin, who scored 16 goals in 1954-55.

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