Dead at 85 is Larry Hillman, Former Stanley Cup Player

Dead at 85 is Larry Hillman, Former Stanley Cup Player

Toronto: Larry Hillman, who was part of six Stanley Cup-winning teams over a lengthy and well-travelled pro hockey career, has died at age 85. Hillman was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman and coach. He was born Lawrence Morley Hillman on February 5. , 1937.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, where Hillman spent eight seasons and won four of his Cups (1962, ’63, ’64, ’67), confirmed his death on social media on Saturday. His former team, The Toronto Maple Leafs, did not give a cause of death.

From Kirkland Lake, Ont., Hillman broke into the NHL with Detroit in the 1954-55 season. He played in six regular-season games and three playoff games as the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup.

He became the youngest player to have his name engraved on the Cup at 18 years nine days. The record cannot be broken under current NHL regulations, as a player must be 18 years old by September 15 to be eligible to play in his rookie NHL season.

He also won a Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1969.

Larry Hillman had 36 goals and 196 assists over 790 career NHL regular-season games between 1954-55 and 1972-73 with Detroit, Boston, Toronto, Minnesota, Montreal, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Buffalo.

After the 1972-73 NHL season, Hillman played two seasons in the World Hockey Association with the Cleveland Crusaders and another with the Winnipeg Jets before retiring in 1976.

Hillman was named the Jets’ head coach for the 1977-78 WHA season, where he led the team to an Avco Cup title.

He got 61 games into the 1978-79 campaign, with Winnipeg posting a mediocre 28-27-6 record.

Playing career 

Hillman made his NHL debut for the Red Wings on March 5, 1955, against the New York Rangers at Detroit Olympia. He won his first Stanley Cup championship with the franchise later that year, becoming the youngest player to be engraved on the Stanley Cup, at 18 years, two months, nine days old. Veteran hockey set a record that cannot be broken under the current rules, as a player must be 18 years old by September 15 to be eligible to play in the NHL that season. 

Larry Hillman split the following season between the Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League (AHL). Detroit Hillman subsequently left the Red Wings after the 1956–57 season and went to the Boston Bruins. He scored his first goal for the Bruins on December 19, 1957, in a 3–3 tie with New York at Boston Garden. Hillman led the league with 70 games played that season. He ultimately played two full seasons in Boston before being sent to their minor league team, the Providence Reds, for most 1959–60 seasons.

Hillman went to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1961 and continued to bounce from the minor leagues to the NHL and back. He played on four Stanley Cup-winning teams in Toronto in 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1967. He played parts of six seasons between those Cup wins with the Rochester Americans and the Springfield Indians. Hillman was named to AHL All-Star First Team in 1965 and captained the Americans to their first Calder Cup later that year.

Following the 1967–68 season, Hillman signed with the expansion Minnesota North Stars, who later traded Hillman to the Montreal Canadiens, with whom he won his sixth and final Stanley Cup championship in 1969. During the 1969–70 season, he again led the NHL in games (76). He was only 11 players to win the Stanley Cup with three or more different teams.

After Montreal, Hillman played for the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, and Buffalo Sabres. Following the 1972–73 season, he left the NHL for the World Hockey Association and played two seasons for the Cleveland Crusaders. In 1975–76, his final season was playing for the Winnipeg Jets.

Coaching career

After his playing career ended, Larry Hillman took over as coach of the Jets in 1977. He led the franchise to the Avco Cup in his rookie season, in which he recorded a .638 winning percentage (50–28–2). However, he has fired 61 games into the 1978–79 campaign, after the Jets went 28–27–6.