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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

FRANK, SR. SELKE

Inducted in 1975

Member Details

Date of Birth: May 7, 1893
Place of Birth: Kitchener, Ontario
Date of Passing: July 3, 1985
Sport: Ice Hockey
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1931

Stanley Cup - Toronto Maple Leafs

1943-45

General Manager - Toronto Maple Leafs

1946

General manager of the Montreal Canadiens

1953, 1956-60

Stanley Cup - Montreal Canadiens

Honoured Member FRANK, SR. SELKE
Inspire

Story

Even as a kid, Frank Selke was a coach and manager more than a star athlete. He coached his first team at age 14 in his hometown of Kitchener, and he later met Conn Smythe at a tournament both men had teams competing in. In 1919, Selke coached the University of Toronto Schools to a Memorial Cup championship in the school's first year, and soon after this he started a team called the Toronto Ravinas which acted as a local farm team to the NHL team, the St. Pats. When Smythe bought the St. Pats and changed the team's name to Maple Leafs, he hired Selke to be his assistant general manager, and so began a remarkable relationship that lasted some 20 years. In addition to his NHL duties, Selke also was coach of the junior Toronto Marlboros, a team he guided to a Memorial Cup victory in 1929. He helped Smythe in obtaining the necessary funds to build a new rink to replace Mutual Street Arena, and in 1931 Maple Leaf Gardens opened. Selke was not just an administrative personality, though. He was superb at assessing hockey talent and understanding how a team formed as a unit to achieve victory. Early in the 1942-43 season, Smythe left the team to oversee the Sportsmen's Battery, an army unit composed mostly of hockey players, and he left the running of the team to Selke. Despite the mutual admiration and trust between the two men, though, Selke incurred the wrath of his boss by trading a prospect named Frank Eddolls, whom Smythe much admired, to Montreal for 17-year-old Ted Kennedy. Despite the genius of the deal,Eddolls's career amounted to little while Kennedy had a hall of fame career in Toronto,Smythe never trusted Selke the same way, even after the Leafs won the Cup in 1945. In the summer of 1946, Selke resigned and became general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. Although the Leafs went on to win the Cup four times in the next five years, Selke also had a remarkable second career with the Canadiens. Montreal won the Cup in 1953 and then five years straight, from 1956 to 1960. Selke was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1960 and four years later retired. In 1978, the NHL introduced the Selke Trophy, given annually to the best defensive forward in the league.


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