Keith Allen, the first head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers who became the general manager that built the organization’s Stanley Cup championship teams of 1974 and 1975, died Tuesday. He was 90.
“Keith was a man for whom I have tremendous respect,” said Flyers owner Ed Snider in a story on the team’s website. “In my mind, he was and always will be one of the greatest general managers in the history of hockey. He was known as ‘Keith the Thief.’ I never knew of a bad deal he made. This team would never have reached the level of success we have had over the past 48 years if it were not for Keith.
“Over the years he became one of my closest confidants and one of my best friends. I will never forget all of the many memories we shared together,” Snider said.
Allen joined the Flyers in 1966, one year before the franchise’s opening season in the NHL. He coached the team to the 1967 West Division title in its first season and stayed with the Flyers behind the bench through the 1969-70 season.
He then became the team’s general manager until May of 1983. During his time as GM, the Flyers won two Stanley Cups (1973-74 and 1974-75), reached the Stanley Cup Final four times, and compiled a 563-322-194 record for a .612 winning percentage.
“Keith was responsible for the Flyers winning the Stanley Cup,” said Bob Clarke in a story on the Flyers’ website. “He was in charge of the draft, in charge of the trades, in charge of getting Bernie (Parent) back — all the things necessary for us to win the (Stanley Cup). He put the pieces in place and hired the coach. He, more than anybody was responsible for us winning the Cups.”
Allen was inducted in to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, joining Snyder in the Builders category.
Allen is survived by his wife Joyce, his three children — sons Brad and Blake and daughter Traci — and four grandchildren, Chelsea, Shay, Jillian, and Chase.