1954-55 Red Wings: Keith Allen



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.

Every Monday! The 1954-55 Red Wings

NHL 54-55 Red Wings S Tm Photo

Prior to Steve Yzerman’s Red Wings lifting the Stanley Cup in 1997, the last Hockeytown team to call itself Cup champions was the 1954-55 squad, led by Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio and Terry Sawchuk.

Since this is the 60th anniversary of that Cup victory, every Monday, TWW will feature a player from that team. To keep it simple, the players will be presented in alphabetical order.

Team Facts

Coach: Jimmy Skinner

Record: 42-17-11

Goals for: 204

Goals against: 134

Semi-Final: Defeated Toronto, 4-0

Cup Final: Defeated Montreal, 4-3

For more about the team, click HERE.

The Production Line


One of the coolest gifts I ever received was this. When I left my job at Maclean Hunter Cablevision in 1994 to work for Barden Cablevision in Detroit, my MH peeps chipped in and got me this signed Production Line photo, framed. Well, Sid Abel has passed away since then so the value went up. Not that I would EVER consider pawning it off.

Currently, the photo hangs on the wall in my office at work.

(Click on the photo to enlarge)

I’m baaaack! (and so are the Red Wings)

Welcome to another season of Red Wings hockey, and another season of The Winged Wheeler.

Your fearless host has taken on additional (paid!) writing assignments since starting this blog last fall, so in the interest of time management, I am streamlining things this season at The Winged Wheeler.

Here’s what you can expect to see here this season:

1. Columns. There will be the occasional 1000-worder to keep you on the edge of your seat. At least with the Internet, you can’t use columns that you don’t like to line the bottom of the bird cage!

2. Nostalgia. You can’t be 51 years old and resist the urge to post about the old days. So be on the lookout for some random nods to the past, when appropriate and relevant. Could be old photos, could be some stream of consciousness memories. You’ll just have to wait and see!

3. A look back at the 1954-55 team. Prior to the Stanley Cup win in 1997, the Red Wings hadn’t captured hockey’s biggest prize since 1955. Remember the 42-year drought that Steve Yzerman and company ended? This season marks the 60th anniversary of Gordie Howe’s Cup-winning squad. So every week throughout the season, TWW will spotlight a player from that 1954-55 team. Pretty cool, eh? Expect those spotlights every Monday morning.

4. Links to relevant stories and articles. Why should I do all the work? So I will feed you links to articles and stories of interest—not only to Red Wings fans, but to hockey fans in general.

Here’s to a great season!