An imposing blend of raw talent and intimidation, defenseman Eddie Shore finished his illustrious playing career in the American Hockey League, then became a team owner and manager and continued to be a demanding and successful hockey figure.
Early in the 1939-40 season, Shore sensed that his National Hockey League days were numbered. He seized the opportunity to purchase the Springfield Indians of the AHL, where he became player/owner. A few weeks into the season, the Bruins were floundering and Boston manager Art Ross approached Shore about a possible comeback. A short-term arrangement was made whereby Shore would play strictly in home games.
Before the season was out, Shore was dealt to the New York Americans. At one point in March, Shore appeared in six playoff encounters in as many nights – three with New York and three with Springfield.
Shore retired from the NHL at the conclusion of that topsy-turvy year to devote his full attention to his AHL investment. When the United States Army took over the Eastern States Coliseum during World War II, Shore moved to Buffalo and managed the Bisons to two Calder Cup championships. The Indians franchise was reactivated in 1946-47 and Shore remained part of the team until he sold it in 1976. With Shore at the helm, Springfield captured Calder Cup titles in 1960, 1961, 1962, 1971 and 1975.
Shore was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947, and in 1958, the AHL created the Eddie Shore Award, presented annually to the top defenseman in the league.
As an AHL owner and coach, Shore gained a reputation as a demanding yet innovative teacher of the game. Many players were upset by his extreme methods, but others would claim they learned valuable hockey lessons they wouldn’t have received anywhere else.
Long after his playing days were finished, Shore’s influence continued to be felt. In 1970, he was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to the game of hockey in the United States. And in 1997, a panel of experts assembled by The Hockey News selected Shore as one of the 10 greatest players in the history of the National Hockey League.
Shore, a native of Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask., passed away in 1985 at the age of 82.