Following a storied playing career in the National Hockey League that earned him an honored place in the Hockey Hall of Fame, Fred “Bun” Cook carved a legacy in the American Hockey League as the most prolific coach ever to work an AHL bench.
Cook was a popular player in the early days of the NHL, known as one-third of the famous Bread Line (with brother Bill Cook and Frank Boucher) with the New York Rangers in the 1920’s and 1930’s. He was also recognized as an early innovator in the evolution of the game of hockey, including helping to introduce the slap shot and the drop pass.
A native of Kingston, Ont., Cook retired in 1937 and became head coach of the AHL’s Providence Reds, leading the team to the Calder Cup championship in his first season. Two years later, Cook’s Reds won another Calder Cup, and in 1942, he coached the Eastern Division team in the first AHL All-Star Game, a benefit to raise funds for American and Canadian efforts in World War II. Cook also put himself back on the ice while in Providence, playing a total of 37 regular-season games during his six years with the Reds.
In 1943, Bun Cook took over for his brother Bill behind the bench of the Cleveland Barons and soon solidified his reputation as one of the most popular and successful teachers in the sport. His 13 seasons in Cleveland saw the Barons dominate as a perennial power in the AHL, including seven first-place finishes in the regular season and five more Calder Cup championships.
Cook retired from the AHL in 1956, following his 11th trip to the Calder Cup Finals. He led his team to the postseason in 18 of his 19 seasons and finished with a record of 636-413-122 (.595), still leaving him as the winningest head coach in league history. His incredible seven Calder Cup championships are by far the most ever by an AHL coach; no one else in league history has won more than three. Cook also ranks second all-time with 1,171 games coached and second with 75 postseason victories.
Cook passed away in 1988 at the age of 84, and was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.
|Career AHL Coaching Statistics – Fred "Bun" Cook|
|1937-38||Providence Reds||48||25||16||7||57||.594||1st, East||7||5||2||.714||Won Calder Cup|
|1938-39||Providence Reds||54||21||22||11||53||.491||2nd, East||5||2||3||.400||Lost semifinal|
|1939-40||Providence Reds||54||27||19||8||62||.574||1st, East||8||6||2||.750||Won Calder Cup|
|1940-41||Providence Reds||56||31||21||4||66||.589||1st, East||4||1||3||.250||Lost semifinal|
|1941-42||Providence Reds||56||17||32||7||41||.366||4th, East||--||--||--||--||DNQ|
|1942-43||Providence Reds||56||27||27||2||56||.500||5th||2||0||2||.000||Lost quarterfinal|
|1943-44||Cleveland Barons||54||33||14||7||73||.676||1st, West||11||4||7||.364||Lost Final|
|1944-45||Cleveland Barons||60||34||16||10||78||.650||1st, West||12||8||4||.667||Won Calder Cup|
|1945-46||Cleveland Barons||62||28||26||8||64||.516||3rd, West||12||7||5||.583||Lost Final|
|1946-47||Cleveland Barons||64||38||18||8||84||.656||1st, West||4||0||4||.000||Lost semifinal|
|1947-48||Cleveland Barons||68||43||13||12||98||.721||1st, West||9||8||1||.889||Won Calder Cup|
|1948-49||Cleveland Barons||68||41||21||6||88||.647||3rd, West||5||2||3||.400||Lost semifinal|
|1949-50||Cleveland Barons||70||45||15||10||100||.714||1st, West||9||4||5||.444||Lost Final|
|1950-51||Cleveland Barons||71||44||22||5||93||.655||1st, West||11||8||3||.727||Won Calder Cup|
|1951-52||Cleveland Barons||68||44||19||5||93||.684||2nd, West||5||2||3||.400||Lost quarterfinal|
|1952-53||Cleveland Barons||64||42||20||2||86||.672||1st||11||7||4||.636||Won Calder Cup|
|1953-54||Cleveland Barons||70||38||32||0||76||.543||3rd||9||7||2||.778||Won Calder Cup|
|1954-55||Cleveland Barons||64||32||29||3||67||.523||2nd||4||1||3||.250||Lost semifinal|
|1955-56||Cleveland Barons||64||26||31||7||59||.461||4th||8||3||5||.375||Lost Final|