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N.Y. Rangers player and coach

March 14, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Alf Pike, 91, a member of the New York Rangers' 1940 Stanley Cup championship team who later coached the club, died March 1 in Calgary, Canada, the team said.

Pike joined the Rangers organization as a 19-year-old junior player in 1937 and made his NHL debut two years later in Detroit against the Red Wings. As a rookie on the championship team, Pike had eight goals and nine assists in the regular season and three goals and one assist in 12 playoff games. That team was the last Rangers club to capture the Stanley Cup before the 1994 squad won it.

"I'll never forget that year," Pike said. "In the opener of the Cup finals against Toronto, I accidentally kicked in Toronto's tying goal and then scored the winner in 15:30 of sudden death."

Pike played 234 NHL games over six seasons, all with New York, before he returned to his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, to pursue a coaching career.

The forward, nicknamed "The Embalmer" because he had worked at a funeral home during the off-season, scored 42 career regular-season goals and added 77 assists. He had four goals and two assists in 21 playoff games.

Pike rejoined the Rangers organization as coach of its junior team in Guelph, Canada, in the early 1950s. He was promoted to Rangers coach during the 1959-60 season, replacing former teammate Phil Watson, and stayed through the 1960-61 season.

Pike's NHL career was interrupted by World War II, which caused him to miss the 1943-44 and 1944-45 seasons while he served in the Canadian military.

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