Flyers Stanley Cup architect Keith Allen dies at 90

Flyers Stanley Cup architect Keith Allen dies at 90
February 4, 2014, 5:30 pm
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Keith Allen spent 14 seasons as Flyers general manager (AP)

"Keith Allen always found a way to bring exceptional talent to Broad Street and weave it into the fabric of a team that would succeed and endure at the highest level, because in Philadelphia, for his Flyers and their fans, no other level was acceptable.

"The National Hockey League sends heartfelt condolences to Keith's family, to his friends and to the Flyers organization, which has lost one of its patriarchs."

-NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman

Keith Allen, the general manager who oversaw the Flyers' two Stanley Cup victories, died Tuesday. He was 90 years old.

Allen, a Hockey Hall of Fame inductee who was best known for putting together the Flyers' celebrated Broad Street Bullies teams, was also the Flyers' coach for the team's inaugural 1967-68 season. 

"Keith was the first coach in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers and a man for whom I have tremendous respect," Flyers chairman Ed Snider said in a statement. "In my mind, he was and always will be one of the greatest general managers in the history of hockey."

After two seasons as coach, Allen replaced Bud Poile as general manager, a position he kept for 14 seasons. He oversaw 12 playoff berths, six division titles and four trips to the Stanley Cup Final. He was also the architect of the 1979-80 Flyers team that set an NHL record for its 35-game unbeaten streak and responsible for the hiring of Fred Shero as coach in 1971.

Allen retired after the 1982-83 season. 

"He was known as 'Keith the Thief,'" Snider said. "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."

In addition to his front-office career, Allen spent 13 years as a professional hockey player, including parts of two seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. He was a member of the Wings' 1953-54 Stanley Cup championship team.

Funeral arrangements are pending.