Ralph Backstrom

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Ralph Backstrom
Chex Ralph Backstrom.jpg
Born (1937-09-18) September 18, 1937 (age 76)
Kirkland Lake, ON, CAN
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 165 lb (75 kg; 11 st 11 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for NHL
Montreal Canadiens
Los Angeles Kings
Chicago Black Hawks
AHL
Rochester Americans
WHA
Chicago Cougars
Denver Spurs
Ottawa Civics
New England Whalers
National team  Canada
Playing career 1958–1977

Ralph Gerald Backstrom (born September 18, 1937) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey centre.

Playing career[edit]

Backstrom played junior hockey with the Montreal Junior Canadiens from 1954 to 1956, and the Ottawa Junior Canadiens from 1956 to 1958. He was captain of the team that won the George Richardson Memorial Trophy in 1957 and the Memorial Cup in 1958.[1]

As a professional, Backstrom joined the Montreal Canadiens for the 1958-59 season and was selected the NHL's top rookie, receiving the Calder Memorial Trophy.[2] He played in Montreal for 12 full seasons, winning six Stanley Cups and appearing in six National Hockey League All-Star Games (1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1965, 1967).[3] After the 1970–71 season, Backstrom requested a trade and talked about retiring. He reported to training camp, but left the team just before the season opened. After returning to the Canadiens, Backstrom spent most of his time on the bench until being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in January 1971.[4] Just over two years later, he was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks for Dan Maloney and finished the 1972–73 season there.

Backstrom then jumped to the World Hockey Association and joined the Chicago Cougars, where he played for two years, and later became a part-owner of the team.[5] In his first season, he led the Cougars in scoring with 33 goals and 83 points in 70 games. He also represented Canada at the 1974 Summit Series on an all-star team of Canadian WHA players. His offensive production dropped sharply in 1974-75 and at the end of the season the new Denver Spurs selected Backstrom in the WHA's expansion draft. Backstrom was the team's top scorer, but the franchise struggled, and a move to Ottawa—where the team was renamed the Ottawa Civics—did not help. The franchise ceased operations 41 games into the season.[6] Backstrom finished the season with the New England Whalers, scoring 35 goals and 83 points over the year. He played one more year with New England and retired in 1977. He would have turned 40 before the start of the next season. Through his professional career, Backstrom had seven 20-goal seasons in the NHL and two 30-goal seasons in the WHA.

Coaching[edit]

Immediately after his retirement Backstrom accepted an offer to join the staff of newly appointed Denver head coach, Marshall Johnston, as an assistant.[7] Three years later Backstrom returned to the NHL as an assistant for the Los Angeles Kings but only stayed for one season before rejoining Denver, this time as the bench boss after Johnston left to pursue opportunities in the NHL. Backstrom led the Pioneers through a few lean years in the early 1980's before having a breakout season in 1985–86 when he led Denver to still-team record 34-win season including a conference regular season title, a conference tournament title (their first in 13 years) and reached the teams first Frozen Four since finishing second in 1973. Backstrom earned both the conference and national coach of the year awards for the impressive season, but he was unable to sustain the high level of play for the remainder of his tenure. Backstrom resigned after the 1989–90 season, turning the team over to Frank Serratore.[8]

Backstrom jumped into the professional ranks in 1990–91 when he took over the Phoenix Roadrunners. After a good first season including pushing the #1 seeded Peoria Rivermen to a seventh game in the Turner Cup semifinals, Phoenix dropped to deal least in the 10-team league and Backstrom was dropped as the coach.

Front Office[edit]

Backstrom, along with Dennis Murphy and Larry King, founded Roller Hockey International and served as commissioner for a time but it soon became apparent that the league was in financial trouble and it suspended the entire 1998 season before playing one final campaign in 1999. While the league didn't officially disband until 2001, Backstrom meanwhile returned to the NHL in 1999–00 as a scout for the St. Louis Blues. After three seasons with the blue notes Backstrom founded a new CHL team called the Colorado Eagles. In addition to owning the team, Backstrom served as General Manager and President of the team for the first three seasons, including a league title in 2004–05. With Backstrom as owner, the Eagles finished atop their division six times, made the finals five times, and win the Ray Miron President's Cup twice in eight seasons before making a move to the ECHL, a higher profile league, in 2011–12.[9]

Awards and achievements[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1954–55 Montreal Jr. Canadiens QJHL 21 7 6 13 2 5 2 1 3 4
1955–56 Montreal Jr. Canadiens QJHL 18 10 8 18 4
1955–56 Montreal Jr. Canadiens M-Cup 10 5 4 9 6
1956–57 Ottawa Jr. Canadiens OHA-Jr. 18 10 8 18 4
1956–57 Ottawa Jr. Canadiens EOHL 18 7 10 17 4
1956–57 Montreal Canadiens NHL 3 0 0 0 0
1956–57 Ottawa Jr. Canadiens M-Cup 15 17 11 28 19
1957–58 Ottawa Jr. Canadiens OHA-Jr. 26 24 27 51 64
1957–58 Ottawa Jr. Canadiens EOHL 33 21 25 46 13
1957–58 Montreal Royals QHL 1 0 1 1 0
1957–58 Ottawa Jr. Canadiens M-Cup 13 17 9 26 24
1958–59 Montreal Canadiens NHL 64 18 22 40 19 11 3 5 8 12
1959–60 Montreal Canadiens NHL 64 13 15 28 24 7 0 3 3 2
1960–61 Montreal Canadiens NHL 69 12 20 32 44 5 0 0 0 4
1961–62 Montreal Canadiens NHL 66 27 38 65 29 5 0 1 1 6
1962–63 Montreal Canadiens NHL 70 23 12 35 51 5 0 0 0 2
1963–64 Montreal Canadiens NHL 70 8 21 29 41 7 2 1 3 8
1964–65 Montreal Canadiens NHL 70 25 30 55 41 13 2 3 5 10
1965–66 Montreal Canadiens NHL 67 22 20 42 10 10 3 4 7 4
1966–67 Montreal Canadiens NHL 69 14 27 41 39 10 5 2 7 6
1967–68 Montreal Canadiens NHL 70 20 25 45 14 13 4 3 7 4
1968–69 Montreal Canadiens NHL 72 13 28 41 16 14 3 4 7 10
1969–70 Montreal Canadiens NHL 72 19 24 43 20
1970–71 Montreal Canadiens NHL 16 1 4 5 0
1970–71 Los Angeles Kings NHL 33 14 13 27 8
1971–72 Los Angeles Kings NHL 76 23 29 52 22
1972–73 Los Angeles Kings NHL 63 20 29 49 6
1972–73 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 16 6 3 9 2 16 5 6 11 0
1973–74 Chicago Cougars WHA 78 33 50 83 26 18 5 14 19 4
1974-75 Chicago Cougars WHA 70 15 24 39 28
1975–76 Ottawa Civics WHA 41 21 29 50 14
1975–76 New England Whalers WHA 38 14 19 33 6 17 5 4 9 8
1976–77 New England Whalers WHA 77 17 31 48 30 3 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 1032 278 361 639 386 116 27 32 59 68
WHA totals 234 85 129 214 76 38 10 18 28 12

International[edit]


Year Team Event   GP G A P PIM
1974 Canada Summit-74 8 4 4 8 10
Senior int'l totals 8 4 4 8 10

College Head Coaching record[10][edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Denver Pioneers (WCHA) (1981-82–1989-90)
1981-82 Denver 21-19-3 9-15-2 4th WCHA Semifinals
1982-83 Denver 15-22-0 11-15-0 5th WCHA Quarterfinals
1983-84 Denver 14-25-0 8-18-0 5th WCHA Quarterfinals
1984-85 Denver 19-17-3 16-15-3 2nd WCHA Quarterfinals
1985-86 Denver 34-13-1 25-9-0 1st NCAA Consolation Game (Loss)
1986-87 Denver 19-18-3 16-16-3 3rd WCHA Quarterfinals
1987-88 Denver 20-17-2 19-14-2 3rd WCHA Quarterfinals
1988-89 Denver 22-19-2 16-17-2 5th WCHA Runner-Up
1989-90 Denver 18-24-0 13-15-0 5th WCHA Quarterfinals
Denver: 182-174-14 133-134-12
Total: 182-174-14

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Memorial Cup: A History...1958". Taking Note with Gregg Drinnan. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  2. ^ "1958-59 Calder Memorial Trophy Winner". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  3. ^ "Ralph Backstrom NHL & WHA Statistics". Hockey-Reference.com. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  4. ^ "Ralph Backstrom (1956-1971)". Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  5. ^ Scott, Jon C. (2006). Hockey Night in Dixie: Minor Pro Hockey in the American South. Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd. p. 163. ISBN 1-894974-21-2. 
  6. ^ "Ottawa Civics". WHA Hockey. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  7. ^ "Ralph Backstrom". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2014-07-18. 
  8. ^ "Denver Men's Hockey Team History". USCHO.com. Retrieved 2014-07-18. 
  9. ^ Blair, Darrel (March 2, 2003). "News - The Coloradoan - www.coloradoan.com". The Coloradoan. Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  10. ^ "2013-14 Denver Hockey Media Guide". Denver Pioneers. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Frank Mahovlich
Winner of the Calder Trophy
1959
Succeeded by
Bill Hay
Preceded by
Len Ceglarski
Spencer Penrose Award
1985–86
Succeeded by
John Gasparini