Congratulations to two LONG time good friends -- David Poile
and Paul Stewart
-- who are two of the five new members joining the US Hockey Hall of Fame
in its 2018 class. I have known David, the GM
of the Nashville Predators
, since his days as an Administrative Assistant and later Assistant GM with the then expansion Atlanta Flames
in the 1970s and Stewie going back to when he was a player at the University of Pennsylvania
in the mid 1970s.
David Poile and Paul Stewart
David, of course, went on to long stints as GM of both the Washington Capitals
and as the only GM in Predators' history, and on March 1, 2018 he became the winningest GM
in NHL history when the Preds defeated the Edmonton Oilers giving him his 1,320th win
surpassing Glen Sather's mark of 1,319. After an eight year playing career in the NHL, WHA
and five minor leagues, Stewie embarked on his lengthy career as an NHL referee
regular season and 49
playoff games, the 1987 Canada Cup
, the 1991 Canada Cup
and two All-Star games
. A cancer survivor himself, Stewie has also been a leader in the "Hockey Fights Cancer"
Both have connections with hockey in Philadelphia
as David's father, Norman "Bud" Poile
, was the Philadelphia Flyers'
when the club joined the NHL in 1967
and was responsible for drafting the likes of Bernie Parent, Doug Favell, Joe Watson, Ed Van Impe,
and Gary Dornhoefer
who went on to win the Stanley Cup
seven years later in 1974 and also hired fellow Hall of Famer Keith Allen
as the Flyers first coach. Stewie played with the AHL Philadelphia Firebirds
as a pro as well as with in college with the UofP Quakers.
Both David and Paul are descendants of Hall of Famers. David's father Bud played for five
of the NHL's "Original Six"
(Toronto, Chicago, Detroit, New York and Boston) before going on to a 13 year coaching career in the old WHL (
Edmonton, San Francisco). In addition to being the first GM of the expansion Flyers in 1967 he did the same thing for the Vancouver Canucks
in 1970. Bud Poile was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1990.
Bill Stewart Sr and Bud Poile
Paul's grandfather was Bill Stewart Sr
who was not only also a longtime NHL referee
like Paul and was himself elected to the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982,
but was a National League
as well. In 1928
Bill Stewart Sr became the NHL's first U.S.-born referee
and served in that capacity until 1941
with the exception of a year-and-a-half he spent as coach of the Chicago Black Hawks
which he led to a surprise upset Stanley Cup
title in 1938
. Stewart was a NL baseball umpire from 1933
and also officiated in four World Series
(1937, 1943, 1948, 1953) and four All-Star Games
(1936, 1940, 1948, 1954). After retiring as an umpire he worked as a scout for the Cleveland Indians
and Washington Senators
and also remained active in hockey including coaching the U.S. National Hockey team
posting a 23–3–1
Bill Stewart's February 19, 1964 New York Times
obituary described him this way:
"There were two Bill Stewarts. To the baseball or hockey fan who watched him as umpire or referee, he was a melancholy, disillusioned man of icy-hearted integrity, often engaged in brawls, accidents or crowd uproars. To the people who knew him off the playing field or ice, he was an affable and articulate man with a fantastic memory and remarkable drive. His face and hands were generally tanned, his jaw was wide and determined and his eyes were penetrating and authoritative.
"Perhaps only in his philosophy were the two Bill Stewarts merged clearly, knowingly and importantly. This he probably best expressed in an interview about 15 years ago: 'The most important thing—and schools can't teach it—is to make decisions quick and to have the guts to stick to them once they're made, come hell or high water.' "
This could apply equally to his grandson Paul as both a hockey player and official.
Congratulations to these two terrific hockey men who will both be distinguished additions to the USHHoF.