William M. Jennings

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For other people of the same name, see William Jennings (disambiguation).
William Jennings
Born (1920-12-14)December 14, 1920
New York, New York, USA
Died August 17, 1981(1981-08-17) (aged 60)
Byram, Connecticut, USA
Cause of death
Cancer
Residence Byram, Connecticut
Education Princeton University,
Yale Law School
Occupation Lawyer, sportsman
Known for New York Rangers,
Westchester Classic
Board member of
National Hockey League, New York Rangers, Suburbane Propane Gas Corp., Lee National Corp, Warnaco Inc.
Religion Presbyterian
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Hite
Children William M. Jr., Jeffrey H., Eunice, Elizabeth B., Pricilla H.
Awards Lester Patrick Trophy (1971)

William M. Jennings (December 14, 1920 – August 17, 1981) was an executive in the National Hockey League.[1]

Born in New York, New York, Jennings graduated from Princeton University and then earned a law degree from Yale Law School. He became a partner in a Manhattan law firm and through his capacity as counsel to Madison Square Gardens, in 1962 he was named president of their subsidiary, the New York Rangers. He was president of the Rangers until his death in 1981.[2] During this time, the Rangers became Stanley Cup contenders. He was a key figure in the first ever expansion of the NHL in 1967 when it doubled in size from the original six teams. Jennings also helped initiate the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1966, which he would win in 1971.

The William M. Jennings Trophy was named in his honor. In 1975, he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and in 1981 to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

In 1966, Jennings founded the New York Metropolitan Hockey Association, one of only a few outlets in the area at that time available for young hockey players. In 1967, Jennings founded the Westchester Classic golf tournament in Harrison, New York as a means to raise funds for charitable purposes in Westchester County. [3]

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Preceded by
Bruce Norris
Chairman of the NHL Board of Governors
1968–1970
Succeeded by
Bill Wirtz