Fred Shero to be Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame
Fred Shero, perhaps the most decorated coach in the Philadelphia Flyers' history, was announced as an inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders Category on Tuesday.
Shero led the Flyers to consecutive Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975, as well as a Finals appearance in 1976. He holds the Flyers record for games coached, wins, and winning percentage.
"I am thrilled to hear that Fred Shero was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame," Flyers' Chairman Ed Snider said. "It's a great day for the Philadelphia Flyers."
Shero's name will always be synonymous with the era of the Broad Street Bullies, and his magical quote "Win today and we walk together forever." His leadership paved the way for the Flyers to be the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup. "The Fog" coached the Flyers for seven seasons between 1971 to 1978.
"Freddie Shero going into the Hall of Fame is obviously a huge honor for our organization and the Shero family," Flyers' Senior Vice President Bobby Clarke said. "Other than Keith Allen, Freddie Shero was the person who should have gone into the Hall of Fame above myself, Bernie Parent, Billy Barber, any of us who have gone in."
"He was that important to the success of the Flyers."
Shero will be the eighth Flyer to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. His induction comes almost 23 years after his death at the age of 60 in 1990. Of the eight Flyers now in the Hall of Fame, Clarke, Bernie Parent and Bill Barber, played their best years under Shero.
"I'm so happy," now fellow HHOFer Parent said. "It's a beautiful thing for Philadelphia and a beautiful thing for hockey."
Perhaps more than the success, Shero was famously known as an introverted, enigmatic Renaissance Man. According to his obituary story in the Reading Eagle on November 25, 1990, Shero played the violin, boxed for 10 years, and took a correspondence course in law.
"I think Freddie was a unique man and I think he touched a lot of people's hearts," Barber said. "He gave me an opportunity to play and have fun and succeed. I can't speak highly enough about him."
Shero's career began as a defenseman for the New York Rangers. He bounced around the minor leagues before picking up the coaching job in Philadelphia. He ended up coaching the Rangers for a few seasons after the Flyers traded his rights for a first round pick and cash compensation in 1978.
He ended his career with two Stanley Cups, a 390-225-119 record in the NHL, four Stanley Cup Final appearances, a WHL Championship, three Calder Cup championships, and the Jack Adams Award for top coach in the NHL in 1974.
"He did more things in 10 years that he coached than some guys did in 30 years," former Flyer Joe Watson said of Shero. "People never talked about systems in the 70s, but when Freddie came along he instituted systems."
Shero revolutionized the role of coach. His posthumous induction is widely believed to be many years too late. His players, and hockey people across the nation, believe he deserved it many years ago.
"He was a great coach. He let me do my thing," Dave "The Hammer" Schultz said of Shero. "I don't think many other coaches would have allowed that. He loved the team, he loved his players."
"There's no sense looking back as to why it didn't happen sooner, because today's a happy day to celebrate the fact a guy that deserves it immensely has finally been elected to the Hall of Fame," Snider concluded.
Shero is survived by two sons, Rejean (known as Ray as GM in Pittsburgh) and Jean-Paul Shero. He will be inducted alongside Scott Niedermayer, Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios and Geraldine Heaney as the Class of 2013 on the weekend of November 8-10.