Bill Cowley

William Mailes "Cowboy" Cowley (June 12, 1912 – December 31, 1993) was a Canadian professional ice hockey centre who played 13 seasons in the National Hockey League for the St. Louis Eagles and Boston Bruins.

Bill Cowley
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1968
Born June 12, 1912
Bristol, Quebec, Canada
Died December 31, 1993 (aged 81)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 165 lb (75 kg; 11 st 11 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Boston Bruins
St. Louis Eagles
Playing career 1934–1947

Playing career

After a few seasons of senior league play in Ottawa and Halifax, Cowley broke in as a rookie with the St. Louis Eagles in 1934–35. After the season, the franchise was terminated and Art Ross, the general manager of the Bruins, selected him in the subsequent dispersal draft.

In Boston he would become a star, leading the league in assists in 1939 (despite missing twelve games with injuries), 1941 and 1943, and helping to lead the Bruins to two Stanley Cups in 1939 and 1941. While World War II ravaged the Bruins' powerful roster thereafter—Boston would not win another Cup during his career—Cowley was the team's sole remaining star. Frequently injured, he was on track to shatter the league record for scoring in 1944 when another injury ended his season two points short.

Cowley finished his career with 195 goals and 353 assists for 548 points in 549 NHL games. On April 5, 1947, at the Bruins annual breakup party, Cowley unexpectedly announced he was leaving hockey because general manager Art Ross had chosen to leave him off of the roster for a post-season exhibition tour of western Canada and the United States. Cowley's wife was from Vancouver and he wanted to use the trip as a honeymoon.[1] At the time of his retirement, he was the NHL's all-time leading point scorer, and the last active player from the St. Louis Eagles roster.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1968, as the sole inductee into the Players category that year. In 1998, he was ranked number 53 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.

After his career, Cowley went on to coach in the Ottawa senior leagues and the Vancouver Canucks of the PCHL.


Returning to Ottawa after his coaching days, Cowley went into business, owning a hotel in Smiths Falls, Ontario and the Elmdale Tavern/Hotel in Ottawa. In 1967, he was a part-owner and founder of the Ottawa 67's junior ice hockey team. He passed on the Elmdale to his son John.[2]

Cowley died on New Year's Eve, 1993 of a heart attack. He was survived by his wife Jessie (née Wilson), children Jill Fullerton, John, Jane Egan and Dan.[3] He is buried in the hamlet of Norway Bay, Quebec, just south-east of his birthplace of Bristol, where he had a home and spent much of his retirement years.[2]

Awards and achievements

  • Named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1938, 1941, 1943 and 1944.
  • Named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 1945.
  • Won the NHL scoring title in 1941.
  • The only member of the Hall of Fame to begin his career with the St. Louis Eagles.
  • Upon his retirement, Cowley was the last active player that had played for the Senators/Eagles franchise.
  • The only NHL players who have scored more points per game in a season than Cowley's 1.97 in 1944 are Joe Malone, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.
  • Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1968.
  • Inducted into Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame.

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1934–35 Tulsa Oilers AHA 1 0 0 0 5
1934–35 St. Louis Eagles NHL 41 5 7 12 10
1935–36 Boston Bruins NHL 48 11 10 21 17 2 2 1 3 2
1936–37 Boston Bruins NHL 46 13 22 35 4 3 0 3 3 0
1937–38 Boston Bruins NHL 48 17 22 39 8 3 2 0 2 0
1938–39 Boston Bruins NHL 34 8 34 42 2 12 3 11 14 2
1939–40 Boston Bruins NHL 48 13 27 40 24 6 0 1 1 7
1940–41 Boston Bruins NHL 46 17 45 62 16 2 0 0 0 0
1941–42 Boston Bruins NHL 28 4 23 27 6 5 0 3 3 5
1942–43 Boston Bruins NHL 48 27 45 72 10 9 1 7 8 4
1943–44 Boston Bruins NHL 36 30 41 71 12
1944–45 Boston Bruins NHL 49 25 40 65 12 7 3 3 6 0
1945–46 Boston Bruins NHL 26 12 12 24 6 10 1 3 4 2
1946–47 Boston Bruins NHL 51 13 25 38 16 5 0 2 2 0
NHL totals 549 195 353 548 143 64 12 34 46 22


  1. ^ Ralby, Herb (April 6, 1947). "Ross Leaves Cowley Off Bruin Trip List; Draws Center's Ire". The Boston Daily Globe.
  2. ^ a b Ferguson, Bob (January 2, 1994). "Ex-Bruin Cowley dies at age 81". Ottawa Citizen. p. B1.
  3. ^ "Hall of Famer Cowley Dies of Heart Attack". Toronto Star. January 3, 1994. p. E02.

External links

Preceded by
Tommy Anderson
Winner of the Hart Trophy
Succeeded by
Babe Pratt
Preceded by
Ebbie Goodfellow
Winner of the Hart Trophy
Succeeded by
Tommy Anderson
Preceded by
Milt Schmidt
NHL Scoring Champion
Succeeded by
Bryan Hextall
1935–36 Boston Bruins season

The 1935–36 Boston Bruins season was the Bruins' 12th season in the NHL.

1936–37 Boston Bruins season

The 1936–37 Boston Bruins season was the Bruins' 13th season in the NHL.

1937–38 Boston Bruins season

The 1937–38 Boston Bruins season was the Bruins' 14th season in the NHL.

1937–38 NHL season

The 1937–38 NHL season was the 21st season of the National Hockey League (NHL). Eight teams each played 48 games. The Chicago Black Hawks were the Stanley Cup winners as they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs three games to one in the final series.

1938–39 Boston Bruins season

The 1938–39 Boston Bruins season was the Bruins' 15th season in the NHL, and they were coming off of a very successful regular season in 1937–38, winning the American Division with a record of 30–11–7, however, they lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup semi-finals. This season, the Bruins would meet the Maple Leafs in a rematch, and win the series 4–1 to win the Stanley Cup for the second time, and the first time in 10 years.

1938–39 NHL season

The 1938–39 NHL season was the 22nd season of the National Hockey League (NHL). Seven teams each played 48 games. The Boston Bruins were the Stanley Cup winners as they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs four games to one in the final series.

1940–41 Boston Bruins season

The 1940–41 Boston Bruins season was the Bruins' 17th season in the National Hockey League, and they were coming off of a successful season in 1939–40, leading the NHL in points for the third season in a row, as they finished with a 31–12–5 record, accumulating 67 points. However, the Bruins lost to the New York Rangers in the NHL semi-finals, ending their chances for a second-straight Stanley Cup. This year, the Bruins repeated as regular-season champs and returned to the Final, and defeated the Detroit Red Wings four games to none to win the organization's third Stanley Cup.

1940–41 NHL season

The 1940–41 NHL season was the 24th season of the National Hockey League (NHL). Seven teams each played 48 games. The Boston Bruins were the Stanley Cup winners as they swept the Detroit Red Wings four games to none in the final series.

1942–43 Boston Bruins season

The 1942–43 Boston Bruins season was the Bruins' 19th season in the NHL.

1942–43 NHL season

The 1942–43 NHL season was the 26th season of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Brooklyn Americans were dropped, leaving six teams to play a schedule of 50 games. This is the first season of the "Original Six" era of the NHL. The league's long-time president Frank Calder died due to heart disease. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup.

1943–44 NHL season

The 1943–44 NHL season was the 27th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams played 50 games each. The Montreal Canadiens were the top team of the regular season and followed it up with the team's fifth Stanley Cup championship.

1944–45 Boston Bruins season

The 1944–45 Boston Bruins season was the Bruins' 21st season in the NHL.

1944–45 NHL season

The 1944–45 NHL season was the 28th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 50 games. The Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in seven games versus the Detroit Red Wings.

1945–46 Boston Bruins season

The 1945–46 Boston Bruins season was the Boston Bruins 22nd season of operation in the National Hockey League. The Bruins made it to the 1946 Stanley Cup Final only to lose to the rival Montreal Canadiens four games to one.

1946–47 Boston Bruins season

The 1946–47 Boston Bruins season was the Bruins' 23rd season in the NHL.

Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins are a professional ice hockey team based in Boston. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team has been in existence since 1924, and is the league's third-oldest team overall and the oldest in the United States. It is also an Original Six franchise, along with the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins have won six Stanley Cup championships, tied for fourth most of all-time with the Blackhawks and tied second-most of any American NHL team also with the Blackhawks (behind the Red Wings, who have 11).

The first facility to host the Bruins was the Boston Arena (today's Matthews Arena) – the world's oldest (built 1909–10) indoor ice hockey facility still in use for the sport at any level of competition – and following the Bruins' departure from the Boston Arena, the team played its home games at the Boston Garden for 67 seasons, beginning in 1928 and concluding in 1995, when they moved to the TD Garden.

Hart Memorial Trophy

The Hart Memorial Trophy, originally known as the Hart Trophy, is awarded annually to the "player judged most valuable to his team" in the National Hockey League (NHL). The original trophy was donated to the league in 1923 by David Hart, the father of Cecil Hart, the longtime head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. The Hart Trophy has been awarded 92 times to 56 different players since its beginnings in 1924. Each year, members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association vote to determine the player who was the most valuable to his team during the regular season.

NHL All-Star Team

The NHL All-Star Teams were first named at the end of the 1930–31 NHL season, to honor the best performers over the season at each position.

Representatives of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association vote for the all-star team at the end of the regular season.

The career leaders in citations are Gordie Howe, named to a total of 21 all-star teams (12 first, 9 second), all with the Detroit Red Wings, and Ray Bourque, named to a total of 19 all-star teams (13 first, 6 second) over the course of his 21-season career with the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche. Alexander Ovechkin is the only player in history to be named to both all-star teams in the same season (as a left and right winger respectively) because of a voting error.

St. Louis Eagles

The St. Louis Eagles were a professional ice hockey team that played in the National Hockey League (NHL). Based in St. Louis, Missouri, the Eagles played for only one year, the 1934–35 NHL season.

The team was founded in 1883 as the Ottawa Senators, a successful independent team that joined the NHL as a charter member in 1917. From the mid-1920s onward, they endured financial strain caused, in part, by being in the NHL's smallest market. The financial problems forced the Senators to suspend operations for the 1931–32 season. Upon their return to play, having sold their better players in an effort to raise funds, the Senators finished in last place for two straight seasons and continued to lose money. Following the repeat last place finish, the team decided that it could not survive in Ottawa and hoped to move to a bigger market.

In an attempt to recoup losses and pay outstanding debts, the Senators moved the NHL franchise to St. Louis, where it was nicknamed the Eagles. However, the team continued to lose money because of its travel expenses, and it was forced to sell players to other teams to meet its financial obligations.

After the season, the owners asked the NHL for a second time for permission to suspend operations. This time, the NHL refused the request. Instead, the league bought back the franchise, halted its operations, and dispersed its players among the remaining teams.

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