Saturday, August 18, 2007

Pollock’s passing gains notice world wide

His reputation was legendary and stretched far beyond the hockey hot beds of Canada, the USA and Europe, to show his impact on the game the passing of Sam Pollock has been major hockey news from New York to Taiwan.

The one time General Manager and architect of Stanley Cup champions in Montreal, passed away August 15 at the age of 81. He leaves behind a legacy of hockey success that we suspect may never again be achieved.
Pollock was the creative genius behind the Montreal Candiens of their halcyon days in the sixties, an era when a Stanley Cup parade most likely could be found going down Ste. Catherine Street on any given May afternoon year after year.

Pollock was the GM of Les Habitants from 1964-1978 and during that period saw his Montreal Canadiens lift Lord Stanley’s mug nine times out of his fourteen years in Montreal. And while success was certainly a word that could be associated with Pollock, an astute judge of talent would be another description for the iconic GM.

Pollock oversaw a Montreal Canadiens squad that year after year seemed to find the best of the available talent and somehow fit them for a Montreal uniform, whether it was through drafting or trading Pollock kept the Habs as the most talent loaded franchise for over a decade.

His departure from Montreal in a power struggle with upper Canadiens management (known as the Grundman years) marked a period of decline for Montreal, a relief for the rest of the league which routinely had become used to ceding the Stanley Cup to the Habs at the start of the season and just compete for the right to lose to them in the Stanley Cup finals.

It was under the tutelage of Pollock that a young coach named Scotty Bowman would soon launch his own astounding NHL career winning four of his five Stanley Cups with Montreal with Pollock as his GM.

It wouldn’t be until another Pollock student Serge Savard appeared in the upper offices that Montreal would return to Stanley Cup glory.

Pollock was the architect of the dynasty years for Montreal, a time when all was right for the Rouge, Blanc et Bleu, an era that probably won’t be repeated to that degree of success ever again. Pollock benefited from being in the right place at the right time and in an era when it was relatively easy to unearth the hidden gems to wear the Montreal uniform. Numerous expansions and draft changes over the years have changed that era forever. But if ever a team needed an astute judge of talent it is the modern era, Pollock may have been challenged by the modern NHL and its talent needs but somehow you have a feeling he would still be sending out championship caliber teams well into a new century.

Below some of the avalanche of reports on the passing of one of hockey’s greatest executives.

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