Monday

Alf Pike

Alf Pike has one of the game's all time great nicknames: The Embalmer.

Pike did not earn his nickname by being one of the game's great villains like you might expect. No, he came about his handle much more innocently and literally - he was a licensed mortician.

But first and foremost Pike was a hockey player, and a very versatile one at that. He started in the NHL as a center, moved back to defense and completed his career on the wing. But he was probably best known as the Rangers third line center. He was a utility player if there ever was one.

Pike was another Winnipeg product the Rangers found during the years of World War II. He joined the Rangers as a 22 year old in 1940. As any good Ranger fan knows, that was a good year to join the team, as the Rangers won the Stanley Cup. Pike, who centered Dutch Hillier and Snuffy Smith, scored the overtime winning goal in game one.

Like many players, the war would interrupt Pike's career. Beginning in 1943 he would serve two years with the Royal Canadian Air Force, but at least he was based back home in Winnipeg.

Pike returned to New York in 1945 to play a total of 64 games over the next two seasons to round out his playing career. In total he played 234 NHL games, scoring 42 times and assisting on 77 others.

Pike could not leave the ice, however, and he became a coach until 1970. He started back in junior hockey where he guided the Guelph Biltmore Madhatters to the Memorial Cup title in 1952. He would coach in every corner of the continent as he jumped from minor league team to minor league team.

He also briefly returned to New York to coach the Rangers, replacing Phil Watson for a single season. His short tenure as coach in NYC was explained as "Alf Pike is simply too nice of a guy to be a coach.”

1 comments:

Anonymous,  8:42 PM  

he was a great man he was my great grampa and the reson i like the rangers RIP

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