King Clancy: Wikis


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Born 25 February 1903(1903-02-25),
Ottawa, ON, CAN
Died 8 November 1986 (aged 83),
Toronto, ON, CAN
5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
155 lb (70 kg; 11 st 1 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Pro clubs Ottawa Senators
Toronto Maple Leafs
Playing career 1921 – 1937
Hall of Fame, 1958

Francis Michael "King" Clancy (25 February 1903 – 8 November 1986) was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played 16 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs before becoming a coach, referee, and team executive.

Clancy's nickname "King" originates from his father, who was the first 'King Clancy' and played football for Ottawa. At the time the football was not snapped as is done today, but was 'heeled' back from the line. Frank's father was very good at this and was named 'King of the Heelers' or 'King' for short.[1] This nickname was eventually transferred to Frank.


Playing career

Clancy played for junior teams in the Ottawa area and began his NHL career in his hometown playing for the Senators, where he would establish himself as among the league's top players and help the Senators to Stanley Cup wins in 1923 and 1927. Although he was one of the smallest defencemen of his era, he was tough and fast and would not back down. According to Brian McFarlane, it was said that King Clancy started a thousand fights and never won one.[2]

During a 31 March, 1923 Stanley Cup game against the Edmonton Eskimos, Clancy became the first hockey player to play all six positions during one game. In the third period, goaltender Clint Benedict was given a two-minute penalty. At the time, goalies served their own penalties. Not wanting to leave the net open, Clancy played goal for the two minutes Benedict was gone.[3]

On 11 October 1930, coming off what would be the most productive season of his career, with 17 goals and 40 points in 44 games with the Senators, Clancy was traded to the Maple Leafs, with Toronto manager Conn Smythe giving up $35,000 and two players for him. In his second season with the Leafs, Clancy helped his team win the Stanley Cup.

After a sluggish start to the 1936–37 season, Clancy announced his retirement just six games into the season. He retired as the top scoring defenceman in NHL history, with 136 career goals.

Post-playing career

The season after his retirement as a player, Clancy briefly coached the Montreal Maroons before beginning an 11-year stint as an NHL referee. In 1949, the Montreal Canadiens hired Clancy to coach their American Hockey League farm team, the Cincinnati Mohawks. He was released after two losing seasons, and rejoined the Maple Leaf family as coach of the Leafs' AHL affiliate, the Pittsburgh Hornets. The Hornets had two outstanding seasons under Clancy, winning the Calder Cup as league champions in 1951–52, and nearly repeating the following year, before losing the cup final in seven games.

On the strength of that performance, Clancy was made coach of the Maple Leafs for the 1953–54 season. He held the job for three years, but the team struggled, with each season worse than the one before it. He was then given the title assistant general manager by his friend, Conn Smythe, but his responsibilities often involved public relations at least as much as building a hockey team. Clancy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958.

He remained assistant general manager-coach through the 1960s, working under Punch Imlach. When Imlach was fired in 1969, Clancy initially said that he'd leave with him, but he was persuaded to stay with the Leafs and was made vice-president (a decision that did not go over well with Imlach, although the two later reconciled).

After Harold Ballard took control of the Leafs during the 1971–72 season, Clancy and Ballard became inseparable friends. Former Leafs player, coach, and assistant general manager Hap Day would say that Clancy was paid to do nothing by both Smythe and Ballard.[4]

During the 1971–72 season, Clancy stepped behind the Leafs' bench as acting coach for 15 games while head coach John McLellan recovered from a peptic ulcer.

He was the last surviving member of the 1922-23 Stanley Cup championship team (Ottawa Senators).

Clancy remained in the Leafs' front office for the rest of his life. In 1986, he had an operation to remove his gallbladder. Infection from the gallbladder seeped into his body during the operation, and he went into septic shock. He died 10 November 1986 at age 83 and is buried in Mount Hope Catholic Cemetery in Ontario.

Awards and honours

The King Clancy Memorial Trophy was named in his honour and is awarded annually to the player who, by example demonstrates leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made exceptional humanitarian contributions in the community.

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1921–22 Ottawa Senators NHL 24 4 6 10 21 2 0 0 0 2
1922–23 Ottawa Senators NHL 24 3 2 5 20 2 0 0 0 2
1923–24 Ottawa Senators NHL 24 8 8 16 26 2 0 0 0 6
1924–25 Ottawa Senators NHL 29 14 7 21 61
1925–26 Ottawa Senators NHL 35 8 4 12 80 2 1 0 1 8
1926–27 Ottawa Senators NHL 43 9 10 19 78 6 1 1 2 14
1927–28 Ottawa Senators NHL 39 8 7 15 73 2 0 0 0 6
1928–29 Ottawa Senators NHL 44 13 2 15 89
1929–30 Ottawa Senators NHL 44 17 23 40 83 2 0 1 1 2
1930–31 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 44 7 14 21 63 2 1 0 1 0
1931–32 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 48 10 9 19 61 7 2 1 3 14
1932–33 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 48 13 12 25 79 9 0 3 3 14
1933–34 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 46 11 17 28 62 3 0 0 0 8
1934–35 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 47 5 16 21 53 7 1 0 1 8
1935–36 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 47 5 10 15 61 9 2 2 4 10
1936–37 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 6 1 0 1 4
NHL totals 592 136 147 283 914 55 8 8 16 92

Coaching record

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
MTLM 1937–38 18 6 11 1 (30) 4th in Canadian (fired)
TOR 1953–54 70 32 24 14 78 3rd in NHL Lost in first round
TOR 1954–55 70 24 24 22 70 3rd in NHL Lost in first round
TOR 1955–56 70 24 33 13 61 4th in NHL Lost in first round


In an episode of How I Met Your Mother that aired on March 23, 2009, Clancy's name was used as a fictional Canadian sex act. An "Old King Clancy" was depicted as a sex act involving maple syrup but was never fully explained.


  1. ^ McFarlane, pg. 20
  2. ^ McFarlane, pg. 12
  3. ^ Conner, pg. 162
  4. ^ Ballard: A Portrait of Canada's Most Controversial Sports Figure," William Houston, Summerhill Press, 1984, p. 86.


External links

Preceded by
Tommy Gorman
Head coaches of the Montreal Maroons
Succeeded by
Tommy Gorman
Preceded by
Joe Primeau
Head coaches of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Succeeded by
Howie Meeker
Preceded by
George Boucher
Ottawa Senators captains
(Original era)

Succeeded by
Frank Finnigan

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