As a player, John Brophy was known as a goon if you’ve ever seen one. He played 18 seasons in the Eastern Hockey League, putting up a whopping 4000 career penalty minutes. Nobody comes close in EHL history.
Brophy spent most of his playing days at the Long Island Ducks, and that’s also where his coaching career started. After 15 years of coaching, Brophy joined the Toronto Maple Leafs for his first NHL gig in 1984.
He began as an assistant coach, but two years later, he took over as head coach. And being the goon he was, he didn’t think the Maple Leafs were tough enough. Brophy didn’t have high thoughts on the most skillful players, and he even took some severe swings at Wayne Gretzky, calling The Great One ”a whiny little shit.”
Once, he even taught his player how to play dirtier in front of their goalie, and he did it most hysterically. Luckily, cameras captured the moment as Brophy slashed his players on the ankles and even cross-checked them on their knees.
Brophy also took out his spearing skills, and in the video, Brophy can be heard saying, ”If you don’t win the battle, or you don’t stay in the hockey club.”
After the practice, he was interviewed and defended his coaching methods.
”We can’t take penalties. Everybody knows that. But we can fight a little more.”