James C. Hendy was an executive and writer who found fame both as a general manager and as a hockey historian.
Growing up around rinks in Vancouver and New York, Hendy had a limited formal education but held several jobs, including filing game reports from Madison Square Garden. His acumen and attention to detail led to him collecting and publishing player statistics, and he is widely credited with developing the methods for tracking basic player and team data that are still in use 80 years later.
Hendy took over as general manager of the AHL’s Cleveland Barons in 1949 and became one of the storied franchise’s most popular figures. In 1949-50, the Barons became the first team in AHL history to reach 100 points in the standings, and they would go on to reach the postseason in each of Hendy’s 11 campaigns, capturing four Calder Cups in seven seasons between 1951 and 1957. For his efforts, Hendy was twice named the Hockey Executive of the Year by The Hockey News.
Midway through his 12th season with the Barons, Hendy suffered a fatal heart attack on Jan. 14, 1961. He was just 54.
One of the most respected executives the sport ever knew, Hendy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1968 and was honored with the prestigious Lester Patrick Trophy in 1970. Since 1961, the AHL has presented the James C. Hendy Memorial Award annually to the executive who has made the most outstanding contribution to the American Hockey League.