Hall of Famer
Inducted in 1982
Manager of Team Canada at '76 Canada Cup
Won nine Stanley Cups with Montreal
Although Sam Pollock joined the Montreal Canadiens in 1947, his connection to the team precedes this date, for he also ran a midget hockey team in that city which provided many players for the Montreal Junior Canadiens. He began working for the Habs at the lowest level, but within three years he was named the director of player personnel, so astute was his judgement of players. He worked for the team in this capacity for 14 years, learning the players in the system and overseeing the operations of the Junior Canadiens and the NHL team's minor-league affiliates. Under Pollock the Junior Canadiens won Memorial Cups in 1950 and '58 (the latter when the team was known as the Ottawa-Hull Junior Canadiens), and in 1962 the Omaha Knights won a CHL championship (Central Hockey League) after which time Pollock was named general manager and vice-president of the NHL's Canadiens. Pollock remained GM for 14 years during which time the Habs won nine Stanley Cups. One of his first moves was to trade two college prospects to Boston for a young goalie named Ken Dryden. On another occasion, he pulled off what most people consider the smartest trade in the game's history. Pollock wanted the first overall selection in the 1971 draft so he could take Guy Lafleur, so he made a deal with lowly California for that team's first choice figuring the Seals would finish last and Montreal would get the first pick. During the 1970-71 season, though, Los Angeles was playing even more poorly than California, so Pollock traded the aging but still valuable Ralph Backstrom to the Kings for two insignificant players. Backstrom's presence lifted the Kings out of last place, the Seals finished at the bottom, and the Habs drafted Lafleur. The rest, as they say, is history Pollock later managed Team Canada at the inaugural Canada Cup tournament in 1976. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame two years later, his level of success unmatched and his reputation for hockey genius undiminished by time.