Leighton Alfred "Hap" Emms (January 12, 1905 in Barrie, Ontario – October 23, 1988 in Niagara Falls, Ontario) was a Canadian ice hockey player, coach, owner, general manager and pioneer of the game. Emms was as controversial as he was successful during close to 60 years in hockey. He played in the NHL between 1926 and 1938 for the Montreal Maroons, New York Americans, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings.
After retiring from playing, he was the owner and coach of the Barrie Flyers of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1945 to 1960. He coached his team to winning the Memorial Cup in 1951, with his son Paul and nephew Don on the roster and in 1953, with future Boston Bruins stars, Doug Mohns and Don McKenney, among others. He later owned the Niagara Falls Flyers from 1960 to 1972 after moving the Barrie team. The Flyers in both Barrie and Niagara Falls were sponsored by the Bruins, until the direct NHL sponsorship of junior clubs halted in 1966–67.
General manager of Boston Bruins
During the 1965–66 and 1966–67 seasons, Emms was the general manager of the NHL Bruins, the third GM in the team's 41-year history to that point. He succeeded Lynn Patrick in the post, and brought such players as Bernie Parent, Pit Martin, John "Pie" McKenzie, Gerry Cheevers, Gilles Marotte, and Gary Doak to the Bruins. He also promoted Harry Sinden to coach in 1966, and was the general manager during Bobby Orr's first season in the National League.
But the Bruins were in the midst of an eight-year slump; they failed to make the playoffs during Emms' two seasons, and he was replaced by his assistant manager, all-time Boston great Milt Schmidt, in the spring of 1967. Emms then returned to Niagara Falls, Ontario, to resume command of his junior hockey club. Schmidt, meanwhile, pulled off the blockbuster trade obtaining Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield (in a deal that included Martin and Marotte), surrounding Orr with the talent to make the Bruins a Stanley Cup contender. Still, the OHA Flyers contributed materially to Boston's 1967–1972 success, with Don Awrey, Jim Lorentz, Don Marcotte, Derek Sanderson and Ed Westfall all having prepped for their NHL careers with Emms' junior team.
Return to the OHA
In 1972 the Emms family sold the Flyers and immediately bought the neighbouring St. Catharines Black Hawks. Emms later moved the Black Hawks to Niagara Falls in 1976, who became the second Niagara Falls Flyers franchise. After 50 years in hockey, Emms sold the Flyers to Reg Quinn in 1978. He died in 1988 at 83 from heart failure.
The Ontario Hockey League's Emms Division was named in his honour. The Emms Trophy is awarded to the team which wins the OHL Central Division, and formerly awarded to the Western Conference winner. The Emms Family Award is awarded annually to the OHL Rookie of the Year. The Hap Emms Memorial Trophy is awarded to the outstanding goaltender at the Memorial Cup tournament.
- Hap Emms's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- Hap Emms's biography at Legends of Hockey
- Hap Emms at Find a Grave
|General Manager of the Boston Bruins