Alex Shibicky

Alex Shibicky was signed by the New York Rangers while playing junior in his hometown of Winnipeg. He joined the Rangers in 1935-36, splitting the season between the big club and the Can-Am League's Philadelphia Ramblers. It was in the minor leagues that Shibicky formed a special bond with the Colville brothers, Mac and Neil. The trio would become the Rangers' bread and butter for the rest of the 1930s until World War II.

The trio were dubbed the Bread Line, and were trained by Lester Patrick to mimic the Ranger's previous great line featuring a set of brothers - Bill and Bun Cook with Frank Boucher. Both lines played "beautiful hockey," known for intricate passing plays and creative offense.

Shibicky was the triggerman on the line. He would score 110 goals in 324 games. In the years leading up to World War II, only seven players scored more often than Shibicky. In 1938-39 he registered his best season, notching 24 goals, tying him with the great Toe Blake for second in the league, just two tallies behind Roy Conacher.

Shibicky was known for his deadly accurate shots. His arsenal included an early form of slap shot. While most credit Bobby Hull with popularizing the slap shot, old timers will tell you that Alex Shibicky experimented with it years earlier. Shibicky learned of the shot while watching Bill Cook in practice.

The 1939-40 season was the most magical of seasons for anyone associated with the Rangers in those days. The Rangers finished the 1939-40 season in second place behind the Boston Bruins, with these two teams met in the semi-final. The Rangers escaped that series, thanks in part to Shibicky's 2 goals and 2 assists in six games.

In the Stanley Cup final of 1939-40, New York faced the Toronto Maple Leafs. Shibicky left game three early because he broke his ankle in three places. Amazingly, after missing game 4, Shibicky returned to the series with his foot frozen. In game 5 Shibicky played a big role in the Rangers' opening goal, setting up center Neil Colville. The Rangers would win that game in overtime.

In what proved to be the decisive game six, the Rangers entered the third period down 2-0. But the Rangers would gain momentum, thanks to another Neil Colville goal set up by Shibicky. Alf Pike scored two minutes later to tie the game. Deadlocked, the game went into overtime. At 2:07, Bryan Hextall scored to give the New York Rangers the Stanley Cup!

It was the only Stanley Cup championship won by Alex Shibicky during his outstanding career, played entirely with the New York Rangers.

In those days the players did not get to take the Stanley Cup home with them for a day in the summer time. During the NHL lockout lost season of 2004-05, the Hockey Hall of Fame decided to send the Cup to many of these old timers, finally giving them their day with the Cup. Sadly, Alex Shibicky died of congestive heart failure just two weeks before the Cup was to have arrived. He was 91 years old.

In life after hockey Shibicky coached minor league hockey and taught at hockey schools and invested in a restaurant chain and, with lifelong friends the Colville brothers, in an 1,100-acre grain farm near Winnipeg. He and the Colvilles often took golf and fishing trips. All three would settle and retire in the Vancouver area.


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