Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Keith Allen, the Philadelphia Flyers' longest continuously serving and most notable general manager, passed away on Tuesday. He was 90 years old.
Allen, who spent the first two years with the expansion franchise as its head coach, was moved into the front office in 1969 and remained GM through the end of the 1982-83 season.
Through a series of shrewd trades and drafting which ended up molding the club's only two Stanley Cup winners (1974-75) and teams which appeared in two more Cup Finals (1976, 1980), Allen earned the nickname "Thief."
"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 press release. "In my mind, he was and always will be one of the greatest general managers in the history of hockey. 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."
A native of Saskatchewan, Allen spent almost two decades as a defensemen playing in several leagues across North America. He spent 18 games over two seasons with the Detroit Red Wings (1953-55), but hung up the skates for good in 1957.
He then coached for almost a decade in the Western Hockey League of Canadian junior hockey before his former coach and teammate, Bud Poile -- father of current Nashville Predators GM David Poile -- hired him to coach Philadelphia's new NHL entry.
Allen was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builder's category in 1992, joining Snider, who was enshrined four years earlier.
In addition to his efforts to mold the Flyers into a winner, Allen also was instrumental in creating the Maine Mariners of the American Hockey League. The franchise, which arrived in 1977, remains the only one in league annals to win the Calder Cup in its first two seasons of operation.