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Monday, August 8, 2022
Home Sports NHL Hockey Hall of Famer Emile 'The Cat' Francis, a longtime coach and...

Hockey Hall of Famer Emile ‘The Cat’ Francis, a longtime coach and GM of the Rangers, dies at 95


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Hockey lost a legendary figure on Saturday. Emile “The Cat” Francis, a former NHL goaltender and a longtime coach and general manager, died at 95.

Francis is most known for his work with the New York Rangers, a team he coached for a decade during the 1960s and ’70s. The Hockey Hall of Famer also served as the Rangers’ general manager for eight of those 10 seasons. Under Francis, New York reached the playoffs all but one season, had three consecutive 100-point campaigns from 1970-73 and made the Stanley Cup Final in 1972.

“The New York Rangers and the entire hockey world are saddened to learn of the passing of Emile Francis,” Rangers general manager Chris Drury said in a statement. “Emile’s passion and dedication to the Rangers organization and growing the game of hockey in New York City was second to none. ‘The Cat’ was a true pioneer and innovator, as well as the architect and coach of some of the greatest teams in Rangers history. Emile has meant as much to the Rangers as any person who has been part of the organization throughout its history. Our thoughts are with Emile’s family and friends during this difficult time. “

In 1976, Francis joined the St. Louis Blues as general manager and executive vice president. He also spent two different stints coaching the team, one from 1976-77 and the other from 1981-83. The Blues reached the playoffs in two of Francis’ three seasons behind the bench.

“The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Emile Francis, a Hall of Fame coach and general manager whose infectious personality was as beloved as his hockey acumen was revered,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “… The NHL sends its deepest condolences to his family and to his many friends and admirers.”

Francis won 388 career games over his 13 seasons as a coach, making him the 42nd winningest coach in NHL history. He has the most wins (342) and playoff wins (34) in Rangers franchise history.

A former NHL goalie, Francis began his professional hockey career as a player with the Chicago Blackhawks and Rangers. He played 95 games over a six-year career stretching from 1946-52. Francis earned the nickname “The Cat” from a local sportswriter by showing quick reflexes in his Saskatchewan junior hockey days.





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